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Huskies Sneak Away On Blandford’s Walk-Off

Blandford’s bases-loaded walk lifts Duluth in extra innings

Wyatt Kopelman – wmk23@miami.edu

Eleven runs just weren’t enough. Neither were 30 combined walks.

Then, with the bases loaded in the 11th inning, center fielder Bobby Blandford made the 31st the most crucial.

Blandford walked to score the game-winning run, lifting the Huskies past the Larks, 12-11, in over 4 1/2 hours on Thursday at Wade Stadium.

With an 11-7 lead after four innings, Duluth appeared to have the insurance runs needed.

Then the Huskies (1-1) went silent for the next six.

Reliant on a pair of two-run base hits, the Larks (1-1) climbed back into the contest, scoring four runs across the sixth and the eighth.

Neither team scored through the final 2 ½ innings, leaving 10 combined runners before Duluth prevailed.

Four Huskies batters posted multi-hit outings. Blandford finished with four RBI.

Duluth scored four runs in the first, despite trailing by one run in the first. Blandford hit a two-run triple and first baseman Jack Painter notched a sacrifice fly.

Left fielder JD Rogers ignited the Huskies’ three-run second with an RBI single. Second baseman Ambren Voitik then scored on a groundout, moving Duluth back ahead, 7-4, despite Bismarck’s three runs in the frame.

Before signaling for right-handed closer Jake Christianson (1-2), the Huskies turned to five relievers.

Right-handed starter Darrell Johnson Jr. threw two innings and allowed four earned runs on two hits and six walks, before right-hander Andrew Brockwell entered in his debut. The Western Kentucky product surrendered three additional runs on four hits and three walks.

Christianson was awarded the win, while Bismarck right-handed reliever Ryan Bourassa (0-1) was charged with the loss.

Next, the Huskies return to Wade Stadium for their series opener versus the La Crosse Loggers on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th 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, over 280 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. 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.