Cal Friedman, @friedman_cal
St. Cloud, Minnesota – The Huskies and Rox combined for 25 hits in game two of the series at Wade Stadium. Monday night saw just nine hits, but the Huskies fell just short.
The Duluth Huskies fell 5-3 to the St. Cloud Rox at Joe Faber Field. Both teams put together a dominant pitching performance and made plenty of phenomenal defensive plays.
The Huskies, who scored just one run in the first six innings against St. Cloud at Wade Stadium, found the opening run in the top of the first. Peyton Powell extended his hit streak to nine games in his first plate appearance, lacing a double to left field to score Jonathan Vastine to give the Huskies an early 1-0 lead.
Caleb Gallant got the second start of the season for the Huskies after throwing three and two thirds innings against the very same Rox in his first start. The Rox immediately found a response in the first, with Charlie Condon recording his league-leading 50th RBI of the season on a ground ball to Duluth first baseman Eddie Satisky.
The Rox would build onto their lead immediately in the second. Magnum Hofstetter gave St. Cloud their first lead, looping an RBI single to right-center field to score O’Neill Burgos. With the bases loaded, Trevor Austin knocked in another run on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1 heading to the third.
St. Cloud featured five Northwoods League All-Stars in their starting lineup, including starting pitcher Hunter Day. The right-hander got some phenomenal help from his defense, with Burgos robbing Jonathan Vastine of a base hit, then catcher Dawson Martin helped to turn a 2-5-4 double-play on a failed double-steal by Duluth.
The Rox used that momentum to tack on one more in the fourth. Condon picked up his second RBI of the day off of a hit by pitch, closing Gallant’s outing after three and two-thirds innings.
Michael Hallquist made his return to the Northwoods League for the first time since June 15th, and started strong. The Bismarck State product fanned Ethan Mann on seven pitches to work out of a bases-loaded jam, keeping the Rox’ lead at 4-1.
Hallquist continued to impress with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. He added another strikeout to O’Neill Burgos before getting a pop out and a groundout to keep the Rox’ batters quiet.
Hallquist’s great start opened up the Huskies’ bats in the sixth. Devin Hurdle launched his team-leading third home run of the season to lead off the sixth. It was the third home run on the road from Hurdle, with his first coming at Rochester, his second at Waterloo, and now leaving the yard at St. Cloud, just over an out-stretched glove of Brice Matthews.
Vanderbilt Commodores Jonathan Vastine and JD Rogers each got aboard next, and on a wild pitch by Hunter Day, Rogers swiped second and Vastine trotted home to make it a 4-3 game.
Connor Wolf earned his way out of trouble, and St. Cloud used the momentum to add an insurance run. Austin knocked a two-out double down the first base line, then came home on a wild pitch to make it 5-3. Austin, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Monday night, finished 1/1 with a double, a sac fly, and two runs scored.
It became a battle of the bullpens in the final innings, with both teams trading shutout innings. Isaac Rohde and J.D. McReynolds tossed shutout innings in the seventh and eighth, but Rox relievers Rafael Acosta and Brady Posch each threw shutout frames as well.
In the end, Jacob Moskowitz locked up the Huskies for his first save of the season, setting the batters down in order to clinch a 5-3 Rox win. Rox starter Hunter Day advanced to 6-0 with the win, while Huskies starter Caleb Gallant fell to 0-2 on the season.
St. Cloud now leads the season series 4-3, despite only out-scoring Duluth by three runs. The two will close their series tomorrow at 7:05 P.M. Devin Dodson is the probable starter for Duluth, while Kaden Krowka is expected to get the ball for St. Cloud.