The Winona State University (WSU) baseball team had to wait an extra day due to weather, but the Warriors earned some key real estate in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) standings as they claimed two identical 2-1 wins on the road against the Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) Mustangs on Sunday.
With the two wins, WSU currently owns a 12-10 mark overall and moves to 9-8 in the NSIC.
In game one, Dillon Whittaker put together a terrific outing for Winona State in the opener, going six full innings, scattering five hits, and giving up just one run in a 2-1 win for Winona State. Nicolas Herold came on in the seventh and closed out the victory for WSU, striking out the final SMSU batter with two runners in scoring position, earning the save.
Whittaker’s SMSU pitching counterpart, John Bezdicek, was on top of his game as well, throwing a seven-inning complete game for his side, but taking the loss on the day.
Both teams were handcuffed by strong efforts on the mound, but Winona State was able to get all the runs they needed in the fourth inning, after SMSU had taken a 1-0 after the first frame.
Sam Kohnle doubled and then saw teammate Tanner Williams trade places with him, with William’s extra-base hit driving Kohnle home to tie the game. Williams took advantage of an errant throw to advance to third, and scored on a Derek Baumgartner single.
The two runs stood up for the duration of the game as Bezdicek and Whittaker put on a clinic, with both teams out on 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and both pitchers conceding just one hit each the rest of the way.
A walk and SMSU batter hit by a pitch made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh as the Mustangs threatened, but Herold struck out Matt Bezdicek to finish off the Warrior win.
Offensively, Derek Baumgartner and Austin Savary both went 2-for-3 in game one, while Sam Kohnle had a hit and walk for Winona State.
The second game looked much like the first, with strong pitching being the story of the day and a familiar scoreline when the dust settled.
Winona State’s Austin Savary took the hill looking to double his win total on the year in his fourth start. Matched with Savary was Jake Wensmann, who brought his A game for the Mustangs through six innings. For WSU, however, freshman Peter Tveite looked anything but like a first-year player in a stellar two-inning stint in relief to earn the win.
The Warriors and SMSU were scoreless through the first two innings, and traded single runs in the third. Sam Kohnle drove in Nate Loomis to strike first in the game for Winona State. The Mustangs answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of hits eventually scoring Robbie Smith.
The 1-1 deadlock looked ready to be broken when Derek Baumgartner strode to the plate with a bases-loaded situation and two outs in the eight inning, but Mustang reliever Shawn Williams struck out the Warrior senior to retire the side.
Winona State freshman pitcher Peter Tveite entered the game in the bottom of the eighth for the Warriors, taking over for Savary who turned in an excellent seven-inning effort. Savary finished with five strikeouts and did not allow a walk.
Tveite retired the SMSU side in order in the eighth, serving up two ground balls for outs, including an outstanding play by shortstop Derek Martin ranging to his right. Tveite ended the inning by striking out the third batter he faced.
In the Warrior half of the ninth, a Nick Herbst walk, followed by a Carter Brinkman bunt and Joe Ihrke walk resulted in two WSU runners on base with only one out.
At that point, Nathan Loomis stepped up and delivered, with a double to left to score Herbst. SMSU intentionally walked Zac Stange to load the bases, and the strategy ultimately paid off for the Mustangs, as they created a force out at home for the second out and ground out to first to end the Warrior threat but not before Winona State doubled their run total.
In the bottom of the ninth, Tveite returned to mound and owned the moment, retiring the side in order for the Warrior win, 2-1.
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