Winona State University Baseball had their first away games of conference play in Bismarck, N.D. this past weekend where they came home with a pair of wins against University of Mary.
Game one of the matchup brought Kyle Gendron, a fourth- year pitcher from Wisc., his second win of the season after returning from an injury and surgery that put him out of the 2021 season.
Gendron pitched four innings while striking out six and only allowing two hits. To finish up the game, third-year Warrior Caleb Strack pitched two innings followed by second-year Peter Tveite in the seventh inning.
Offensively, fourth-years athletes Carter Brinkman and Derek Baumgartner stole the show with a home run each. Brinkman ended the game 2 for 3 with the other two hits being from Baumgartner and first-year Miller Wallace.
“The older guys are always trying to help the younger guys and pass on the knowledge we have learned from former players and our coaches,” Baumgartner said of playing on a team of diverse ages. “They have done a great job retaining that information.”
Game one ended 3-1 for a Warrior win.
Game two didn’t come as easily, as the team had to fight back in the later innings to overcome a 2-0 gap.
Third-year Warrior Cooper Kapanke continued his season of strong hits with a home run in the seventh inning to bring himself, Baumgartner and Brinkman to home plate, giving the Warriors a nudge above the Marauders.
“I would like to be that leading hitter, someone that my team can rely on in a clutch moment and be that guy,” Kapanke said, describing his goals this season. “And if I keep it up, be someone that can be an All-Conference infielder.”
During the eighth inning, Kapanke and second-year Austin Beyer both had single RBIs to deliver a larger gap in the score: a 6-2 Warrior lead. The next inning, Beyer repeated this to bring the score up one more.
The Marauders were able to score two more points in the ninth inning but couldn’t quite catch up the full five points.
“We have a good group of guys. Our pitchers throw strikes and our hitters have been putting in the work,” Kapanke said.
On the mound for game two was third-year Bailey Banaszynski for a majority with five innings before switching over to fourth-year Zach Watzka, with a few other brief appearances as well.
Banaszynski had seven strikeouts while Watzka had four, respectively.
Beyer led the Warriors in hits when he went 3 for 5 including his three RBIs, followed by Brinkman and Kapanke.
The team continues this week at University of Minnesota-Crookston on April 6, followed by games against University of Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend and Bemidji State on Tuesday, April 12.
The last game against Crookston in 2021 came with a loss of 5 points in a 14-9 game, topping off the hopeful end of a three-game losing streak against the Eagles.
The Warriors now sit at 6-12 overall and 4-3 in NSIC play, where they currently sit right at their predicted spot of seventh overall in the conference.