BASE: USF Baseball Earns Split with Winona State

SIOUX FALLS – The University of Sioux Falls Baseball Team (12-16, 9-9 NSIC) rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and won game one, 7-6, with a walk-off suicide squeeze to earn a split in the doubleheader with Winona State on Saturday at the Birdcage. The Cougars, which lost, 16-5, in the second game, have split all five conference series this year as they stand 9-9 in league play.

On the day, senior shortstop Gunner Peterson, who jumped his season average to .364, led the Cougars with four hits in seven at bats and two RBI. He perfectly executed the suicide squeeze in game one to help USF to its eighth walk-off win in two seasons and fourth this year. Sophomore first baseman Josh Rehwaldt also had a big day with four hits in eight at bats with two RBI. With the four hits, he moved his batting average to a team-best .373. With two more RBI, he has a team high 28. Overall, USF hit .368 on the day with 25 hits in 68 at bats.

Next for USF will be a road trip to Minnesota State on Tuesday in Mankato, Minn. The NSIC doubleheader between the two squads starts at 1:30 p.m.

G1 – USF 7 WSU 6 (7 innings)
A walk-off suicide squeeze by Peterson scored Cole Sweeney as USF rallied with two runs in the seventh to record a dramatic 7-6 win over WSU. It was a wild final inning in game one as WSU rallied with five runs to take a 6-5 lead in the top half of the inning.

Matthew Minnick slammed his first home run of the season to lead off the home half of the seventh inning to tie the game. Anthony Lopez singled and was replaced by pinch runner Cole Sweeney, who moved to third after a wild pitch and passed ball. With one out, Peterson laid down his perfectly executed suicide squeeze which scored Sweeney as the Cougars celebrated their eighth walk-off win in two seasons.

The Warriors rally prevented freshman starter Keenahn Coyle from winning his first game of his career. Coyle allowed seven hits and four runs with six strikeouts and four walks in his best performance of the season. He had allowed just one run and five hits into the seventh inning. After he struck out two batters, WSU put together their rally with three straight hits, which forced USF into a pitching change. Reliever Chris Thompson gave up three straight hits and hit two batters as USF lost the lead. However Thompson (2-2) earned his second win of the season when USF rallied and he ended the WSU run by enticing a ground ball to third base.

Derek Masberg (0-2), the third of WSU's pitchers on the day, retired just one hitter in the seventh inning, walking a hitter and allowing three hits and two runs. Daniel Karlin-Kamin started for WSU, allowing 10 hits and five runs in three innings. Caleb Schoenholz worked three innings of scoreless relief.

The USF offense, which had 14 hits, was led by Minnick, who had two hits, including his HR, two runs scorec and two RBI. Peterson also had two hits, both bunt singles, and two RBI. Rehwaldt had two hits and an RBI while Lopez and Rob Johnson, who tripled, added two hits each.

WSU opened the scoring when Jesus Cazares hit a run-scoring single to plate Joe Kubera for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Rehwaldt and Minnick smacked back-to-back run scoring doubles as the Cougars took a 2-1 lead in first inning. Then, Anthony Lopez hit an opposite field single on a hit & run as Minnick scored for a 3-1 advantage. With two out, Gunner Peterson laid down a bunt for a base hit, which scored Crow as the Cougars took a 4-1 lead after one inning. In the third inning, three straight two-outs hits (Merriam, Rob Johnson, Durkin), including Durkin's infield single and throwing error by WSU which scored Merriam, allowed USF to build a 5-1 lead.

G2 – WSU 16 USF 5 (9 innings)
WSU salvaged a split in the doubleheader by rallying from a 4-2 deficit with an eight-run sixth inning and cruised to a 16-5 win over the Cougars in game two.

Dylan Gavin (0-1) took the loss for USF as he gave up five hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings. He walked four hitters and strikeout three. Christian Lazar, Cody Blackwell, Jackson Olson, Mitchell Lyall and Ryan Patrick also worked for the Cougars. WSU's Aaron Mutter (2-2) picked up his second win of the season, going five innings and allowing four hits and four runs (three earned) with six walks and one strikeout.

In the nightcap the teams combined for 29 hits with WSU recording 18 and USF, 11. The Cougars were hurt by 11 runners left on base.

Offensively, USF was led by Jarvis, who had two hits and an RBI, and Rehwaldt, who also had two hits and an RBI. Peterson added two hits. Sam Kohnle had four hits and Chad Herbst, three hits and four RBI, including a home run, to lead the Warriors.

The Cougars opened the scoring in game two with a pair of runs, generated by Rehwaldt. After Durkin walked and Jarvis singled, Rehwaldt doubled off the center field to score Durkin with Jarvis thrown out on the play. Rehwaldt advanced to third and after a walk to Minnick, stole home as part of a double steal when Minnick was thrown out at second.
WSU tied the game with a two-run home run from Chad Herbst in the top of the second inning.

The Cougars cracked the tie in the fifth inning when Johnson and Peterson score on Jarvis's sacrifice fly and a throwing error by the WSU outfield for a 4-2 lead.

The Warriors broke the game open in the sixth inning with eight runs on seven hits. After one out, eight straight batters reached base, including six by base hit as WSU took a 10-4 lead. The Warriors added two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings for a 14-4 lead. With a triple from Jack Reiver and a run-scoring single from Johnson, the Cougars cut the lead to 14-5. Then, the Warriors closed the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Dan Genzler