Snow moves baseball to Wayne State

Mitchell Breuer, Sports Reporter

In what has been a recurring theme for the Winona State University baseball team, scheduling changes once again affected the team’s week.

Due to the weather at home, the Warriors were forced to move their two-game series against Wayne State College to Wayne, Nebraska, while a scheduled weekend meeting with Bemidji State University was cancelled. The team won 5-4 in their first game against Wayne State, and lost 4-8 in the second.

When Winona State finally saw the action Thursday, the team saw mixed results.

In their first game, Winona saw themselves with an early deficit, going down four runs during the third.

However, the team responded, cutting into Wayne State’s lead in the fourth, as a single by sophomore Doug Martin allowed sophomore Chad Herbst to score their first run of the day. Later in the inning, Martin and first-year Nathan Loomis would also score after a double by first-year Zac Stange.

Martin again provided for the team in the fifth, as he would hit a single up the middle that allowed senior Kipp Youngquist and first-year Tanner Williams to score, giving the team a 5-4 lead.

On the opposite side of the ball, sophomore pitcher Aaron Mutter only allowed two hits in the final four innings of play along with three strikeouts. After giving up runs early, his ability to rebound earned him praise from his teammates.

“Mutter turned out a gritty pitching performance,” Herbst said. “After running into trouble early in the game, he really bounced back and dominated for the remainder of the game.”

In the end, Mutter would not allow Wayne State to score again, allowing Winona to pick up the victory in the first game of the day with a score of 5-4.

“Going down by four runs early would be an easy excuse to give up but it was great for the team to keep chipping away and get the win,” Loomis said.

In the second game, the Warriors got on the board first after a fielding error by the Wildcats allowed Stange to score in the first inning.

After Wayne State tied the game in the third, Winona once again took the lead late after a home run by Herbst in the seventh, and extended it in the eighth, after a pop fly by senior Taylor Field allowed Stange to score.

However, the Wildcats responded in the ninth scoring two runs and forcing the game into extra innings, where the home team would outscore the Warriors 5-1 in the inning, en route to winning the game and splitting the series. The Warriors lost 4-8.

“We just had a bit of a meltdown in the last two innings,” Loomis said. “It was unfortunate, but we have been playing well lately and we keep getting more confident in what we can do.”

Following the game, the team headed home and had a rare weekend off, allowing time to reflect on their season so far.

“Looking back on this first part of the season, I think we have all noticed a tremendous growth as a team and as individuals,” Loomis said. “We have been communicating better and really gelling together as a unit.”

After 23 games, the team’s record stands at 10-13 and 9-7 in conference competition.

“Being a very young team, the beginning of the year has been nothing but encouraging,” Herbst said. “Success has come more consistently for most everyone on the team as the season has progressed. Hopefully, this trend can continue and carry us over the hump as we hope to make the conference tournament and make a competitive run in the tournament.”

The team is scheduled to return to action Wednesday, for a one-day series against Upper Iowa University, with the first pitch at 1:30 p.m. and the second game slated to start at 3:30 p.m.

The Warriors will remain at home for a weekend series against St. Cloud State University this upcoming weekend. Games will start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.