Huskies offense stays hot to win border battle
Duluth, Minn — Duluth and Thunder Bay faced in game two of a two-game series on Friday night. On Thursday night the Huskies took game one against Thunder Bay in convincing fashion 10-1. Ricky Reynoso pitched a fantastic game, giving up one run over 6 innings and had a season-high 9 strikeouts while Lance Ford and Max Guzman led the offense with 4-hit performances. Dane Morrow was the Huskies’ Starting Pitcher for game two and faced off against Alex Dafoe of the Border Cats. Dafoe struggled in his last outing against Duluth, lasting only 4 innings and surrendering 7 runs on 7 hits and a trio of walks.
After the Huskies went scoreless in their half of the 1st, Thunder Bay came out swinging as Jake Engel hit a one-out solo home run to grab them their first lead of the series at 1-0.
After a scoreless 2nd inning, the Huskies broke through when Lance Ford began a two-out rally in the 3rd with a base hit. Nic Kent followed him up with another single which allowed Ford to get to 3rd base to bring up the 3-hole hitter Alex Tappen. Tappen was able to bring home Ford and Kent with the 3rd consecutive two-out single to take a 2-1 lead.
Matt Hogan was able to give the Huskies a 2-run lead in the 4th inning when he scored Danny Zimmerman on an RBI-single that he tried to stretch into a double but was thrown out.
Dane Morrow held the Border Cats to just one hit through 3.1 innings, but a 2nd hit came on another Jake Engel solo home run in the bottom of the 4th that tied things up at 2. Coming into today’s game Engel had hit just 4 home runs, with the most recent one coming back on June 25th. Those were also the first two home runs Dane Morrow has given up in almost 40 straight innings.
But the Huskies would rebound right away in the 5th when Nic Kent scored Max Gamm with his 3rd hit of the game to bring the score to 4-2. Gamm led off the inning with a single of his own and advanced to 3rd on an error by Jake Engel at 1st on a Lance Ford ground ball. Alex Tappen followed up Kent with a 2-run double into the gap that both Kent and Ford scored on which gave Duluth a 6-2 lead, but the scoring didn’t stop there as Danny Zimmerman got his 2nd RBI-double of the night which scored Tappen with still no outs in the inning. Dafoe would get two straight outs, but Max Gamm resumed the scoring when an error by the Shortstop Nate Soriano allowed Max Guzman and Tappen to cross home and extend the Huskies’ lead to 7.
The Border Cats scratched across their 3rd run of the night when Thomas Grilli advanced to 3rd and came home on back-to-back wild pitches, which was followed by Jake Engel who got his 3rd hit of the night that scored Nick Seamons from 2nd. Seamons got on base via a walk and got into scoring position on the wild pitches. Later on in the inning, another Border Cat would score on a wild pitch to make it a 9-5 game, which led to Morrow’s exit from the game.
Mason Bryant would come in to relieve him in his 7th appearance out of the bullpen, but his first assignment Alexander Hernandez would hit an RBI double on the first pitch he saw to bring home Anthony Galati which trimmed the Huskies’ lead to 3. After issuing a walk Bryant would strike out Jordan Larson to finally end the 5th inning.
After both teams went scoreless in the 6th inning to keep the score at 9-6, Erik Kaiser would emerge from the Huskies’ pen to replace Bryant. He gave up no runs on one hit, walked one and struck out one in 1.1 innings. Duluth threatened to score in the top of the 6th as they put runners on 1st and 2nd but failed to bring either of them home.
Both team’s offenses struggled to put runners on in the 7th and 8th inning as no runs were scored and just two men logged hits. In the top of the 9th, Aaron Kern took the ball from DJ DePiero who pitched 3 scoreless innings in relief of Alex Dafoe. Kern issued a leadoff walk to Preston Hartsell who got to 2nd base on a Collin Hopkins single with one out. Lucas Reid would immediately replace Kern on the mound to try and prevent a run from being scored. But a double steal put Hartsell and Hopkins into scoring position, which led to a run-scoring single from Lance Ford to give the Huskies their 10th run. Justin Moore then brought home Hopkins from 3rd with a sac fly to make it a 5-run game one again.
Keaton Carattini came in to try and shut down the Border Cats in the bottom of the 9th and retain the 11-6 lead. With runners in scoring position and two outs, Jordan Larson got his 1st hit of the night and drove home Jake Engel and Andrew Shebloski which cut Duluth’s lead to 3. But Carattini induced a pop out to record the 3rd out, ending the game 11-8 in favor of the Huskies.
The Huskies return to Wade Stadium tomorrow night to begin a two-game series against the La Crosse Loggers. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:25 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live-streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.