Baseball sweeps all four against Crookston

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Baseball sweeps all four against Crookston

Senior Taylor Field is congratulated by a teammate after completing a full run against Minnesota State University Mankato on Tuesday, March 27 at Loughrey Field.

Senior Taylor Field is congratulated by a teammate after completing a full run against Minnesota State University Mankato on Tuesday, March 27 at Loughrey Field.

Natalie Tyler

Senior Taylor Field is congratulated by a teammate after completing a full run against Minnesota State University Mankato on Tuesday, March 27 at Loughrey Field.

Natalie Tyler

Natalie Tyler

Senior Taylor Field is congratulated by a teammate after completing a full run against Minnesota State University Mankato on Tuesday, March 27 at Loughrey Field.

Mitchell Breuer, Sports Reporter

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The week was one of ups, downs and more schedule changes for the Winona State University baseball team.

It started with a one-day series against Minnesota State University-Mankato on March 27. The series was originally planned to be a road trip for the Warriors, but ultimately was changed to home for the team due to snow in Mankato.

The first of two games featured a slow takeover by the Mavericks, who started the afternoon with a run scored in the first opening, two in the second and four in the third.

Down by seven, the Warriors did their best to fight back, with sophomore Chad Herbst and senior Kipp Youngquist accumulating RBIs in the fourth, narrowing the gap by five. In the final inning of the game, it looked as if they might just pull off a comeback, as a double by Tanner Williams scoring two more runs. However, Mankato would stop their momentum, ending the game and defeating Winona 7-4.

“The outcome is obviously not what we wanted, but it is good to see a high caliber team like [Mankato] so that we know what we want to be. It also shows to use that if we could just eliminate one inning we are right there with them,” Williams said.

In the second and final game of the series, the Mavericks continued to outplay the home team, jumping out to a seven-run lead by the end of the fourth, though it was the eighth inning that would be the deciding factor in the game. An inning where Mankato put up eight runs, built their lead to 13 and won the game 15-2.

“I thought we did well in working counts. We made their pitchers throw a lot of pitches, and we were generally hard outs,” Williams said. “One thing that we need to work on as hitters is more timely hitting. With runners in scoring position we need to capitalize. Another thing is errors, we can’t give teams like them extra outs.”

As the Warriors looked to move on from the losses later in the week, they would once again run into schedule changes. Like the situation with Mankato, a two game road series against University of Minnesota-Crookston, was once again moved to Winona on Thursday, March 29 and Friday, March 30.

After getting swept in their previous series, their games against the Golden Eagles demonstrated bounce back performances, as they would win all four games against the visiting team, completing their first sweep of the season.

First-year Logan Grunewald, who tallied two hits and two RBIs during the series, admitted that it was “special” to be a part of such an accomplishment.

“To come out with our first sweep of the season is great,” Grunewald said. “We will enjoy it for a little bit but come next week we will be ready to [to focus] on the next games ahead of us. It was a great four wins these past two days, but we have big plans for the year, and are more than ready for the next one.”

In addition to scoring over 38 runs in the two-day span, the team’s effort on defense proved to be an important part of the equation as well, as they closed out each game without the Golden Eagles mounting any comebacks that have plagued the Warriors in the past. A pitcher, that played a role in that was first-year Jackson Stensgard, who in two innings Friday had three strikeouts and only two hits.

“Our pitchers had done a great job holding Crookston to a few runs a game, and the offense was seeing the ball really well against these guys all week,” Stensgard said. “I’m just glad to have the opportunity to be out there in situations like this that can help us win ball games.”

The Warriors will look to keep winning as they host Wayne State College on Wednesday, April 4, with their first game at 1:30 p.m. The team will also travel to Bemidji State University, for a weekend series against the Beavers, April 7-8.