Sunday Split For Sioux Falls & Crookston

Coo Win 6-1 Before Being Shutout 2-0 In Game Two

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Zak Wallner pitched a four-hitter in a 6-1 victory as the University of Sioux Falls Baseball Team (6-11, 4-4 NSIC) split a doubleheader with Minnesota Crookston (9-11, 3-5 NSIC) for the second straight day at the Birdcage (Sioux Falls Stadium). After picking up a win in game one, USF fell to the Golden Eagles, 2-0, in game two.


The Cougars will now hit the road for six games, beginning with a doubleheader at Southwest Minnesota State on Wednesday, March 29 with games starting at 1:30 p.m.


USF’s pitchers had a big day led by Wallner, who allowed just four hits in seven innings. Dylan Gavin didn’t allow any runs in five innings while Stuart Maes was the tough luck loser, allowing one earned run. Overall, the Cougars’ pitching staff had a 0.56 ERA with just eight hits allowed in 16 innings today. They gave up just one earned run and three overall tallies. In addition, the Cougars combined for 15 strikeouts and had just two walks.


The Cougars hit .250 on the day with 14 hits in 56 at bats. Matthew Minnick led the way with three hits in eight at bats for a .375 averaged. Rob Johnson, Noah Durkin and Connor Merriam all had two hits while Gavin hit a home run, the only one of the day.


G1 – USF 6 UMC 1 (7 innings)

In the opener, Wallner threw a complete game four-hitter and the Cougars offense, featuring Gavin’s first home run of the season, broke open a close game early as USF won for the third time in four games with a 6-1 decision in seven innings.


Wallner (1-0) picked up his first win of the season, tossing 79 pitches over seven innings of four-hit ball. Wallner recorded a career-high eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter over seven innings. The senior right hander was dominant all game as he allowed just an unearned run in the second inning. USF’s offense was led by Johnson with a pair of hits, two stolen bases and a run scored.


Minnick had two hits and a run scored while Merriam added two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.

The Golden Eagles opened the scoring with an unearned run as Riley Thompson scored on an USF error in the second inning for a 1-0 lead.


After missing out on scoring opportunities in the first and second innings, the Cougars exploded for three runs on four hits, including a two-out, two run single by Gunner Peterson for a 3-1 lead in the third inning. Merriam’s single off the wall had scored Minnick, who also singled, to tie the game earlier in the inning.


Josh Rehwaldt hammered a run-scoring double off right field wall to score Johnson, who had singled, as the Cougars built a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Gavin helped USF build a 6-1 lead as he hit his two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning.


G2 – UMC 2 USF 0 (9 innings)       

In game two, Justin Yutrzenka did not allow a run over eight innings as he shut down the USF hitting attack in a 2-0 win. In picking up his third win of the season, Yutrzenka had three strikeouts and allowed four hits as he threw just 55 pitches. Zach Seipel earned his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. UMC won despite only four hits and one earned run. It was just the second time this season that USF has been shut out.


In his first start of the season, Gavin allowed one hit on 51 pitches and five strikeouts over five innings. He had five strikeouts and hit a batter in his stellar outing. Maes (1-1) lost for the first time this season but also had a strong effort. Maes allowed just three hits and two runs, only one that was earned, in four innings of work. He had two strikeouts and two walks in throwing 41 pitches.


Durkin had two hits to lead the USF offense, which also had hits from Minnick and Cole Sweeney.


In the sixth inning UMC pushed a run across on a throwing error. After Anthony Stewart singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a sacrifice, he scored on the error by USF.  In the ninth, UMC added a run on a single by Zach Frazier which scored Reed Hjelle, who had singled to open the inning.


Notes – Through 17 games, USF is hitting .303 as a team with a .389 OBP and a .442 slugging percentage. Rob Johnson leads the team in hitting at .408 with a .633 slugging percentage and .483 OBP. He also has a team-high eight steals in nine attempts. Josh Rehwaldt is hitting .353 with a team-high 14 RBI and a .471 slugging percentage. U has stolen 33 bases in 42 attempts, doubling that of opponents, which have 17 steals.  The Cougars pitching staff had a strong weekend as they reduced the team ERA by better than a run and half as they sit at 8.13 on the season. USF has 82 strikeouts and 94 walks.

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