Larks issued second walk off loss of the season as the offense fails to reward a pitching gem from Alex Ross
DULUTH, MN – It’s unfortunate in some cases that there has to be a losing team in a baseball game.
The Bismarck Larks were defeated 1-0 by the Duluth Huskies on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, the Larks (3-5) were the team saying, “It’s not fair we lost that baseball game.” It wasn’t fair because of the night Alex Ross put together on the mound.
The kid out of San Ramon, CA mowed down his competition for a majority of the night. The only real opportunities the Huskies (5-3) had came in the bottom of the second and third inning.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Ross struck out Jake Smith looking to end the threat in the bottom of the second inning. A similar situation arose in the bottom of the third inning resulting in a similar outcome. With one out and runners on first and third, Ross got Rob Emery to pop out on the infield and Kyle Hubbuch to strike out looking to keep it a 0-0 ballgame.
From this point on the southpaw was essentially untouchable.
Ross retired the next 13 batters he faced after escaping the jam in the third. Dating back to the final two hitters of the bottom of the third, Ross retired 15 batters in a row.
Ross’ retired batters streak was snapped in the bottom of the eighth inning when Augie Isaacson singled with one out. However, Ross got the very next batter in Andrew Robinson to ground into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
The final line for Ross featured eight innings of shutout baseball as he allowed just three hits and struck out four. Ross retired 16 out of the last 17 batters he faced.
The key in Ross’ seventh start for the Larks was pounding the strike zone. Out of his 102 pitches, 64 of them were strikes. He walked just two batters on the night, a feat he had only accomplished once before as he walked four or more batters in five out of his first six starts.
Ross was electric, but so was the guy on the other side.
Ryan Tapani went toe to toe with Ross as he tossed six and one-thirds innings of scoreless baseball. Tapani faced the minimum through four innings due to a caught stealing of Conner Perry in the top of the first inning and an inning ending double play in the third.
Tapani allowed just four base runners all game throughout his second start for Duluth. He gave up just three hits and walked one batter. The only runner to reach scoring position while Tapani was in the game was Ryan Anderson after he doubled with two outs in the top of the fifth.
The Larks would come up empty handed as Phillip Jacobson (South Dakota State) struck out to end the inning. The only other opportunity the Larks were granted came in the top of the seventh inning.
After Tapani recorded his eighth and final strikeout to begin the seventh, Newt Johnson delivered a one-out single serving as the last batter that Tapani would see. Joe Gonrowski had come on in relief and walked the first batter he saw in Noah Sadler. Gonrowski would bear down however and strikeout a pair of the hottest Larks hitters in Scooter Bynum and Anderson to delete the scoring chance.
The birds of Bismarck would end up kicking themselves for not converting.
In the bottom of the ninth inning when David Manasek relieved Ross, the Huskies made the Larks pay. Isaac Collins led off the inning with a flare single into centerfield and Emery sacrificed him over into scoring position. Hubbuch wasted no time delivering the knockout punch as he singled over the head of Bynum in centerfield.
Collins came across to score and in the snap of a finger the game was over and the Larks had lost.
The only downfall for the Larks was their offense. Much like the weather in Duluth, they went cold. They weren’t able to muster anything up against Tapani and the rest of the Huskies bullpen as they recorded just three hits.
The bats hope to come back to life as the Larks travel to Thunder Bay for a four game set starting tomorrow.
First pitch from Port Arthur Stadium is set for 7:05pm. Follow the live broadcast at mixlr.com/larksbaseball as Toph Buzzard will be on the call.
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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