2nd straight sweep and 5th straight win for Duluth
Duluth, Minn — On Sunday afternoon the Huskies faced the La Crosse Loggers in game two of a two-game series in which the winner would take sole position of 2nd place in the Great Plains East division. Cole Milam was the Starting Pitcher for Duluth and took on Tristan Harvin of the Loggers. Game one of the series took place on Saturday night when Duluth shut the Loggers out 6-0 and got brilliant outings on the mound from Schuyler Hill and Owen Meaney, while Nic Kent and Kyle Jacobsen led the offense as they combined to go 4-8 with 4 RBI’s and scored half of the Huskies’ runs.
Lance Ford and Nic Kent continued to be a proficient one-two punch in the top of the 1st when they both got on base to start things off. Kyle Jacobsen, who hit 3rd for the Huskies, drew a full-count walk that loaded the bases with no outs. Alex Tappen was able to score Ford from 3rd to make it 1-0 but grounded into a double play. Harvin then induced another groundout from Max Guzman to minimize the damage.
But JT Schwartz and Trey Harris would follow the Huskies up with back to back base hits of their own to begin the 2nd inning. Hunter Watson would be walked to load the bases and after a Cole Elvis pop out, Kyson Donahue hit a high chopper to 2nd Baseman Lance Ford who tried to turn two but couldn’t quite get the ball back to 1st in time as JT Schwartz came home during the play to tie things at 1.
The leadoff hits continued when Preston Hartsell lifted an 0-1 fastball to the left-center gap for a double, which was his 1st hit since returning to the Huskies a few days ago. Harvin would work around it though by striking out Matt Hogan and Collin Hopkins and getting Max Gamm to hit a weak grounder to 1st base to set down the side.
Once again Nic Kent and Lance Ford displayed their abilities when Ford walked and would come all the way home on Kent’s double to the wall in centerfield to give Duluth a 2-1 lead. Kyle Jacobsen kept the inning going with a base hit which allowed Kent to get to 3rd and eventually score on Alex Tappen’s sac fly. Later on, Preston Hartsell poked a two-out single into center field that Jacobsen came around from 2nd to extend the Huskies’ lead to 4-1 after 3 innings.
Collin Hopkins worked his way around the bases to 3rd after getting hit by a pitch to lead off the 4th and was brought home by Nic Kent who beat out the throw on a groundball to Tony Bullard at 3rd for his 2nd hit and RBI of the day. The Huskies headed into the 2nd half of the game with a 5-1 lead.
Duluth’s leadoff hitters continued to get on base in the 5th inning, this time courtesy of Alex Tappen who blooped a pop fly into shallow right field for a double. Preston Hartsell got his 3rd hit of the day afterward on an infield single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Harvin would then get yanked and be replaced by Tyler Shingledecker who gave up a run when Matt Hogan hit into a fielder’s choice. Nevertheless, Duluth held a five-run lead as the 6th inning began.
Nic Kent stayed hot at the plate in the bottom of the 6th when he slapped a base hit to the opposite field and stole 2nd base to get into scoring position. He reached 26 on the season with which leads Duluth by a wide margin.
Cole Milam would come out of the game in the top of the 7th as Erik Kaiser took his place. Milam threw 6 innings and gave up only one run on 6 hits, walked 4 and struck out 4. Kaiser has been one of the better arms out of the pen for the Huskies lately as he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 11 innings while striking out 12 across that span.
Neither team could find a way to score in the 6th and 7th innings but then Trey Harris demolished his 3rd home run of the season over the left-field wall in the top of the 8th to make it a 6-2 game. But no more runs would be scored in the rest of the inning as Darren Hansen took the mound in the 9th to try and seal the Huskies 5th straight win.
He would allow one run when JT Schwartz brought home Jack Filby from 3rd on an infield single that made it a 3-run game but got the game-ending out on a Trey Harris 6-4 groundout to complete the sweep of La Crosse by a final score of 6-3. Also with Eau Claire losing to Thunder Bay, the Huskies and the Express are now tied for 1st place in the Great Plains East division.
Huskies’ Shortstop Nic Kent went 4-4 in today’s game and has been on a tear over his last several games. “I’m just trying to simplify my approach, drive the ball up the middle, and keep my swing short”, he said about his recent approach at the plate. He also leads the Huskies in steals with 26 to his name, and when asked if he has always been a base stealer, he said that he’s “always loved to steal bases and it’s something I wanted to work on this summer.”
The Huskies will now take the next three days off for the All-Star break. Nic Kent and Dane Morrow will be the two men representing Duluth in the contest which takes place on Tuesday night at the Waterloo Bucks’ stadium. First pitch is at 7:05 pm and can be live-streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl.
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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.