Novak Shines, Baseball Eliminates Johnnies and Cobbers Posted on May 12th, 2023 by

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Facing elimination on Friday, the Gustavus baseball team rose to the occasion with a thrilling 3-2 walk-off win over Saint John’s followed by a dominant 15-6 win over Concordia to advance to the MIAC playoff championship game for the second consecutive season. The Gusties (28-13) will face Bethel (28-10) at 3 p.m. tomorrow and need two wins for the MIAC playoff title and berth to the NCAA tournament.

Bryce Novak (Sr., Cleveland) was the story of the day, getting the walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth versus Saint John’s, followed by a 7-for-7 performance at the plate against Concordia, setting a MIAC single game record. The previous record was held by Gustavus Athletics Hall of Famer Brad Mazer, who went 6-for-7 against Carleton on April 8, 2000. Novak’s seven-hit game also ties the NCAA Division III single game high this season.

Gustavus 3, Saint John’s 2 | BOX SCORE

The first game of the day started out as a pitcher’s duel between Luke Siegle (So., Blaine) and Kody Dalen. Neither pitcher surrendered a run until the Gusties broke the shutout in the fifth with a pair of runs. Patrick Timmer (Sr., Lakeville) doubled down the left field line and Novak singled to center to score the first run. Novak then scored on two wild pitches.

Siegle left the game after five shutout innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three batters. Damon Rademacher (Sr., Princeton) pitched a scoreless sixth but the Johnnies tagged him for one run on one hit and an error in the seventh.

Brevin Goetz (So., Rochester) came in relief for the eighth and the Johnnies were able to tie the game after an error, double, and RBI groundout. Goetz pitched a three-up-three-down ninth, setting the stage for the walk-off in the bottom half.

Chris Knowles (Jr., New Ulm) led off with a walk and stole second. With two outs, Timmer and Luke Johnson (Sr., Paynesville) drew consecutive walks, and Novak followed with the game-winning hit to the left-center gap.

Goetz earned the win after two innings of relief, allowing one run on one hit with a pair of strikeouts. Novak (2-5, R, 2 RBI) and Jack Hanson (Sr., Minnetonka) (2-4) led at the plate.

Gustavus 15, Concordia 6 | BOX SCORE

Gustavus started the second game of the day with three runs in the first and never looked back. Gavin Baker (Sr., Lakeville) hit an RBI double and three batters later, Nick Azar (Sr., Edina) hit a two-run single up the middle.

The Gusties added two more in the second as Novak led off with an infield single and Hanson followed with his seventh home run of the season over the left field fence.

The game blew wide open in the fourth as the Gusties scored nine runs in six hits. Drake Siens (Jr., Rogers) had a bases loaded walk for the first run of the inning. Knowles had a two-run single, and Logan Bjorkman (Sr., Lindstrom) added a three-run homer over the left field fence for an 11-0 lead. Novak later added a two-run single up the middle and Siens was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for the ninth run of the frame.

Concordia broke the shutout in the fourth with four runs on three hits, highlighted by a two-run triple.

Gustie starter Adam Biewen (Jr., Golden Valley), fresh off MIAC Pitcher of the Week and Team of the Week honors, settled back down and went seven innings with five runs allowed on eight hits and eight strikeouts.

Gustavus added a run in the eighth on a Baker RBI single for its 15th run of the game.

The Cobbers scored one in the ninth off reliever Tomas Nelson (Fy., Maplewood), but it was far too little, too late.

Novak finished the day batting 9-for-12 with five runs, four RBIs, and two doubles in his best offensive performance of his career.


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