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Back and Forth Game Goes to The Larks

Kyle Morrison

Bismarck, ND.- The Huskies took the long seven-hour bus ride to Bismarck, North Dakota, to take on the Larks for a Thursday night matchup at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark. The Huskies were coming off four straight losses that included a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Eau Claire Express on Wednesday that dropped their second-half record to 8-12.

Duluth turned to Jake Schelonka (5 G, 8.44 ERA), the local boy from St Scholastica, to try and stop the bleeding and get Duluth back in the win column. The Larks turned to Alec Danen (3 G, 9.00 ERA) out of Viterbo University as they tried to improve a lackluster 7-13 second-half record.

Both starters put up zeros in the first, with the only blemish for either starter being a two-out walk from Schelonka in the bottom of the inning.

The Larks had their first scoring chance in the bottom of the second inning when they put runners on first and second with one out but could not convert after Schelonka struck out Reggie Williams and got Khalid Collymore to ground out to second.

The Huskies came up short in a similar opportunity in the top of the third when they loaded the bases with 2-outs for Peyton Powell, but the Texas Longhorn grounded out to second in a 3-1 count to end the insurrection.

The scoring armistice would end in the bottom of the third when Spencer Sarringar came up in a one-out runners at first and third situation and hit a rocket on the ground towards Cam Frederick that took a bad hop under his glove to score AJ Barraza who reached on a triple earlier in the inning. It was 1-0 Bismarck.

Seth Surrett then came up with a double down the right field line that just snuck under Huskies First Baseman Eddie Satisky to score Spencer Sarringar and make it 2-0. The scoring assembly line would continue with RBI singles from Bradlee Preap and Adam Axtell to make it 4-0 in the third.

The Huskies immediately answered in the top of the fourth on a line drive double from Jeremy Keller down the left field line that scored Joe Vos after Larks left fielder Khalid Collymore bobbled it in the left field corner. After 3 and a half, it was 4-1 Bismarck.

Schelonka’s night ended after three innings where he gave up four runs on seven hits. He gave way to right-hander JD McReynolds out of the bullpen, who proceeded to throw a scoreless fourth inning.

Bismarck’s starter Alec Danen was pulled after four innings of one-run ball. His longest outing of the year for the Larks. He gave way to the lefty Jake Lynch, who proceeded to immediately give up a run on a clutch one-out single from Kristian Campbell to score Jonathan Vastine to make it a 4-2 Bismarck lead.

Despite giving up the run, Lynch did a great job of avoiding any further damage, striking out Eddie Satisky and Joe Vos with runners at first and second, killing a seemingly golden opportunity for Duluth to cut even further into the Bismarck lead.

It was the fifth inning where Duluth really broke through and changed the outlook of the ball game. Devin Hurdle got things started with a leadoff walk and ended up scoring on a series of unfortunate events for Bismarck as Hurdle used a stolen base and two wild pitches to get himself around the bases.

JD Rogers followed this with an RBI single to tie the game, scoring Jonathan Vastine, and then Rogers would score on another RBI single from Kristian Campbell that gave the Huskies a 5-4 lead, capping off a gutsy comeback.

The tale of the first two relievers out of the Duluth and Bismarck bullpens were polar opposites. JD McReynolds gave the Huskies three scoreless innings, allowing zero hits and keeping Bismarck at bay to allow the Huskies to amount their comeback.

On the other side, Jake Lynch allowed four earned runs in two innings, coughing up three hits and four walks and choking a once three-run lead and allowing Duluth to take the lead.

Stephen Klenske was the next man out of the bullpen for the Larks, and he also failed to keep the Huskies off the board. After getting a big double play from Jeremy Keller with the bases loaded and one out, Klenske coughed up a wild pitch with two outs that allowed Joe Vos to score from third base, which made the score 6-4 in favor of the Huskies.

The Larks were not dead yet. In the bottom of the seventh, with Michael Sarhatt in the game, the Larks put runners at first and second with one out. The Larks sent both runners, and Huskies Catcher Jeremy Keller airmailed the throw down to third which allowed Jackson Beaman to come around and score. The next hitter Bradlee Preap picked up an RBI single, his second of the night to tie the game at 6. A Joe Vos diving catch to end the inning kept the game tied.

The Larks retook the lead in the eighth inning on an RBI single from Spencer Sarringer right over Kristian Campbell’s head at shortstop, whose range was limited with the infield in. A series of wild defensive fielders choices and close calls at third base kept the game at a one-run difference.

In the end, Justin Goldstein was too much for the Huskies. He came in for Bismarck and fired two shutout innings setting down the Huskies six up and six down and winning the game for the Larks 7-6.

The Huskies fall to 8-13 in the second half and 27-27 overall. The Larks advance to 8-13 on the second half and 19-36 overall.

Game 2 will be tomorrow at 7:05 from Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.