Baseball has split weekend season opener

Maurice Hudson, sports editor

The Winona State University baseball team showed little fatigue in their season opener, beating the McKendree Bearcats 5-1.
Third-year Winona State player Kyle Gendron (1-0) has had a notable start to his junior season.
During the game, the Silver Lake, Wisconsin native struck out seven batters while allowing just five hits.
The Warriors offense got moving in the top of the third inning after falling behind 1-0 on an unearned run in the bottom of the second.
To square the game at 1-1, redshirt fourth-year Nathan Loomis scored on a redshirt fourth-year Derek Martin RBI single.
The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on the next at-bat when fourth-year Sam Kohnle singled to left field to carry fourth-year Zac Stange in.
Martin was struck by a pitch after a Stange walk, putting runners on first and second.
Kohnle took advantage of the situation by driving in Stange with a single to middle.
Fourth-year Tanner Williams drove in Martin with an RBI double to right field in the next at-bat.
McKendree had runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Gendron got out of the trap by inducing a pop-out to the second baseman and completing a few strikeouts.
On a sac fly by Loomis that scored second-year Nick Herbst in the eighth inning, Winona State added to the lead.
With two hits apiece, Stange and Kohnle led the Warriors, with Kohnle’s two RBIs leading the team.
After the game, Loomis said the team didn’t have to adjust too much going into the second game and kept the same intensity as the first.
“There wasn’t much discussed for things that needed to be changed,” Loomis said. “Our pitchers did a great job of leaving runners on base and getting outs. Our offense was able to drive in runs when given the opportunity.”
In game two of the twin bill, the day saw 32 combined runs, which is the most in a Winona State baseball game since 2012 when the team beat Bemidji State 20-12.
Game two also saw 31 combined hits and 12 total pitchers in the affair.
Winona State got on the board early as Stange scored on a wild pitch to put the Warriors up 1-0 right off the bat.
Just a few batters later, fourth-year Austin Savary drove in Kohnle with an RBI double down the left field wall, extending the lead to 2-0.
Third-year Derek Baumgartner took advantage of a McKendree error in the second inning to send Winona State a 3-2 lead.
Following a three-run second inning by the Bearcats, Williams leveled the game at five with a two-run home run to right field.
Winona State scored a run in the fifth inning, cutting the Bearcat lead to 8-6, by taking advantage of four consecutive walks.
Third-year Blake Kretovics’ two-run triple down the left field line tied the game at eight.
Savary leveled the game at nine with a single to score Martin in the bottom of the fifth inning, after a double by McKendree.
In the seventh inning, Winona State came alive, collecting five runs. Stange drove in Jake Brill with a sac fly, and Williams followed with a walk to put in Loomis.
Savary drove in a run with an RBI triple, and Herbst’s two-run double to right center gave the Warriors a 14-10 advantage.
The Warriors final run of the game came in the top of the eighth on a Kohnle RBI single.
McKendree scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to give them a two-run lead heading into ninth.
The Warriors managed to load the bases in the top of the ninth but could not get a run across. Savary led the Warriors by going 3-5 with three RBIs.
Loomis was able to draw a team high three walks on the day. Loomis said after splitting the twin bill with the McKendree Bearcats that he’s confident in the team and looking forward to completing the ultimate goal.
“I feel very confident in the team this year. I think we have a lot of depth at all positions and that will translate well in a 40-game season,” Loomis said. “Our goal is to finish at the top of the conference and to make a run in the conference tournament.”
Winona State is set to face off against Drury at 12 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a matchup against Maryville at 3:30 p.m.