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Larks Comeback Efforts Fall Short In Loss To St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD, MN – It's almost as if this baseball game had two halves. The first half went to the Bismarck Larks. The second half went to the St. Cloud Rox.

Unfortunately, the Rox did just enough in their half to ensure the win. In the Larks first road game of the season they fell to the Rox by a final score of 6-5.

An identical score to last night's loss to Thunder Bay had a very similar storyline as well. In layman's terms, the Larks (2-3) had the lead and then gave up that lead.

Larks starter Tyler Steele gave the birds of Bismarck exactly what they needed after their inaugural home stand showcased 16 innings of work out of their bullpen. Steele threw five innings of shutout baseball giving up five hits while striking out three.

In the first five innings, or the first half, the Larks offense provided two runs of support. Noah Sadler hit the Larks first home run in team history with a high drive over the right field wall in the fourth inning.

This was the Larks first hit in the ballgame off Rox (3-2) starter Aaron Rozek (Minnesota State University, Mankato) giving the Larks a 1-0 lead. The Larks tacked on another run when Trever Leingang (Bismarck State College) lead off the fifth inning with a single eventually to be brought home by an RBI groundout off the bat of David Salguiero.

The Larks held onto their lead until the bottom of the sixth inning. This is when the second half of the ballgame began.

The Larks’ Parker Harm relieved Steele of his pitching duties ultimately giving up five hits and four earned runs. If one play would have went slightly different, Harm’s night would have looked much different.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Shane Selman (McNeese State) hit a ball to Larks’ shortstop Luke Waldek with Cameron Blaquiere (Western Carolina University) standing on third and Luke Ringhofer (South Dakota State) standing on first.

Waldek fielded the ball cleanly attempting to turn the 6-3 double play to get Harm and the Larks out of the inning with the 2-0 lead still in tact. However, Waldek found himself a step too far away to get the ball to first in time to retire Selman. Waldek was able to record the out at second, but wasn’t able to complete the double play.

This gave the Rox their first run of the ballgame. The Rox went on to score three more runs taking a 4-2 lead.

After the Rox tacked on two more runs in the very next inning, the Larks found themselves down 6-2 in the top of the ninth. This is where the Larks remembered that they are a group that battles.

Sadler led off the ninth with a walk and Quinn Irey brought him around with a two run blast to left. Irey’s first home run of the season gave the Larks life as they ended up tacking on one more run to make it 6-5.

The comeback effort ceased when the Rox brought in Brent Killam (Georgetown University) to close the game. He threw two pitches to David Salguiero eventually retiring him via a six-unassisted putout at second.

The winning pitcher in the contest was Louis Pugliese (Flagler College), now 1-1, despite giving up an earned run in the ninth. The losing pitcher in the contest was Larks reliever Harm who is now 0-2.

The Larks take on St. Cloud tomorrow at 4:05pm for the final game of a short two game road trip.

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The Bismarck Larks are apart of the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 170 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.