Peyton Powell walks off Mud Puppies

Kyle Morrison

Duluth, MN.- After getting a huge Friday night win in Bismarck, the Huskies returned home, sleep-deprived but motivated to start a two-game weekend series with the Minnesota Mud Puppies.

The Huskies entered the game with a 9-13 record in the second half and a 28-27 mark overall. Minnesota entered 0-10 in the second half and 6-21 overall. 

Saturday night was a bit of a homecoming in Duluth as Jake Hamilton, Huskies first half ace and fireball extraordinaire, was on the mound for the Huskies, making his first appearance since the end of the first half of the season. His first-half numbers were stellar, sporting a 2.70 ERA over six games and 30 innings pitched. 

On the other side of the diamond, the Mud Puppies turned to the right-hander from St Thomas, Jake Mrosko, who came into Friday with a solid 4.20 ERA over 15 innings pitched in four prior appearances. 

Both starters pitched scoreless first innings, but Jake Hamilton’s night was short-lived. He gave way to Huskies pitcher Alex Potter who entered with a 3.38 ERA over 16 innings pitched in three games. 

Despite the pitching change, the second inning largely mirrored the first. Both Potter and Mrosko pitched scoreless innings keeping the score tied at zero. 

The first scoring opportunity came in the third when the Mud Puppies loaded the bases with nobody out. Looking primed to break the scoring truce, Alex Potter retired the two, three, and four hitters in order to keep the game scoreless. 

The Mud Puppies turned to their bullpen before the third, giving the ball to Ryan Lambert.

In the bottom of the third, Cam Frederick came home on an errant throw from Center Fielder Kristopher Hockenson after Frederick tagged up from second base on a fly ball from Peyton Powell. The score was 1-0 Huskies. 

Potter came back in the top of the fourth and escaped another bases-loaded jam, getting all-star outfielder Ben Vujovich to fly out to Jack Painter in left with two out to keep the score at 1-0. 

The Mud Puppies continued to roll through their bullpen, going to Conor Wietgrefe before the fourth. He pitched a scoreless frame as the Mud Puppies kept a solid effort from their staff going into the mid-innings. 

The Mud Puppies finally broke through against Alex Potter in the seventh when Jonathan Vastine let a ball get under his glove on a ground ball from Jackson Hauge with runners at first and third. The game was now tied at 1. 

Wietgrefe got Minnesota into the seventh when Jack Painter lined a double down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the seventh and finally knocked Wietgrefe out of the game after a stellar outing where he went 3 plus innings without giving up a run.

The Mud Puppies turned to Garret Mclaughlin out of Weatherford College to pitch them out of a runner at second base and nobody out jam, and he did indeed escape the inning without allowing a run.

In the top of the eighth, the Huskies turned to a pitching debutant in Jeremy Klick to try and keep the game tied. Despite putting runners at first and third with 1 out, Klick struck out Sterling Sutcliffe and Ben Vujovich to keep the game tied going into the bottom of the inning. 

The Huskies were unable to convert on a runners at first and second, and one out situation in the bottom of the eighth after Jared Mettam grounded into a double play, as Garret Mclaughlin did his best Houdini impression.

The Huskies turned to their closer Nolan Lebamoff in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied. 

Lebamoff sat down Minnesota 1-2-3, and the Huskies had a golden opportunity to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth. 

Despite putting runners at first and second with two outs, the Huskies were unable to score, and the game went to extra innings. 

Nolan Lebamoff came back out for the tenth and stranded runners at first and third to keep the game tied. All the Huskies needed to do was drive in their ghost runner at second. 

In the end, it was the man from The University of Texas, Peyton Powell, who came up first in the tenth and wasted no time ending the game in a walk-off with a bloop single down the left field line.

Huskies win and advance to 10-13 in the second half and 29-27 overall. The Mud Puppies fall to 0-11 in the second half and 6-22 overall.

Game two of the series will be tomorrow at 3:05 PM back at Wade Stadium as the Huskies look to finish off the two-game sweep of Minnesota.