Baseball Walks Off Saint John’s, Advances to MIAC Championship Game

Posted on May 13th, 2022 by

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – Trailing 10-9 in the bottom of the 10th with the season on the line, Drake Siens (So., Rogers) hit an RBI triple to tie the game and Nick Azar (Sr., Edina)followed with a walk-off single to send Gustavus to the MIAC playoff championship game. The Gusties lost to Bethel 7-2 earlier in the day before topping Saint John’s 11-10 in 10 innings, improving to 28-13 overall. Gustavus and Bethel will square off for the MIAC championship at 3 p.m. Saturday at CHS Field. The Gusties need to win twice to claim the title and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Gustavus 2, Bethel 7 | BOX SCORE

The Gusties took a 1-0 lead in the second inning but it would be their lone advantage of the game. Ethan Mocchi (Sr., Champlin), Azar, and Dalton Thelen (Sr., Cold Spring) each singled to load the bases. The next pitch was a balk from the Bethel pitcher, allowing Mocchi to score, but the Royals got out of the jam with a ground out and foul out.

Bethel tied the game in the fourth after a single, hit-by-pitch, and an error. The Royals then took a 3-1 lead in the fifth after two hits, a sac fly, and a wild pitch. Bethel added a run in the sixth after a batter reached first on a dropped third strike and scored after two hits. Another insurance runs was added in the seventh after a single, wild pitch, and another base hit for a 5-1 lead.

Bethel scored its final two runs of the game in the ninth inning after a hit-by-pitch, RBI double, single, fielder’s choice, and a sac fly. The Gusties scored a run in the bottom half as Thelen hit an infield single and later scored on a sac fly by Luke Johnson (Jr., Paynesville).

Azar (2-3, BB) and Thelen (2-4, R) had four of the Gusties six total hits. Mitch Casperson (So., Le Sueur) suffered the loss after 4.2 innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts.

Gustavus 11, Saint John’s 10 (10 inn.) | BOX SCORE

Gustavus struck twice in the first inning for the early lead. Bryce Novak (Jr., Cleveland) singled, Jack Hanson (Sr., Minnetonka) reached on an error, and Gavin Baker (Jr., Lakeville) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Both Mocchi and Siens hit RBI singles to score the pair of runs.

The Johnnies did the bulk of their damage in the second inning, scoring six runs on four hits for a four-run lead. The Gusties started to chip away at the lead with a couple runs in the third. Siens led off with a double and scored on a triple by Thelen. Logan Bjorkman (Jr., Lindstrom) then hit a sac fly to score Thelen.

Saint John’s increased its lead to 7-4 in the sixth on a pair of hits, but the Gusties rallied for five runs on five hits and an error in the seventh for a 9-7 advantage. Azar, Casperson, and Hanson each had an RBI, while Novak hit a two-run double.

Neither team scored in the eighth, leaving Saint John’s to its final three outs while trailing by two. The Johnnies came through with a couple runs on a double off the right field wall to tie the game, but Thelen made a leaping catch in the right-center field gap to end the inning.

The Gusties went three-up, three-down in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extras. Saint John’s then regained the lead in the 10th after loading the bases and hitting a sac fly for a 10-9 lead and placing the pressure back on the Gusties.

Hanson led off the frame with a single up the middle and advanced on a sac bunt from Baker. A fly out had the Gusties down to their final out and Siens connected for a clutch game-tying triple into the right field corner. Azar then battled in a long at-bat and prevailed with the game-winning hit.

Siens led the offense, batting 3-for-6 with three runs, and two RBI. The Gusties had 16 hits in the game.

Damon Rademacher (Sr., Princeton) pitched seven innings of relief to keep the Gusties in the game, allowing three earned runs on eight hits and four strikeouts. Mocchi earned the win after pitching the 10th inning.

 

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