Duluth takes advantage of St. Cloud mistakes
Duluth, Minn — The St. Cloud Rox defeated the Duluth Huskies by a score of 8-3 in game one of Duluth’s seven-game homestand. The two squads faced off on a warm Tuesday evening as Mason Bryant was on the mound for Duluth in his 8th appearance of the year and faced Trae Robertson of the Rox.
Bryant would hit two Rox batters and give up a single to Jordan Barth to load the bases with two outs for Freddy Achecar. He would clear the bases with a 3 RBI double down the left field line, giving St. Cloud an early 3-0 lead.
Wade Meckler and Nic Kent both got on base to begin the bottom of the 1st inning. Kent would proceed to steal 2nd base to put runners in scoring position with no outs for the 3,4, and 5 hitters. Guzman would fly out to 2nd base to give St. Cloud an out, but Alex Tappen would bring home Meckler on an RBI groundout to make it 3-1 Rox. Danny Zimmerman would come to the plate with two outs and a runner at 3rd base and drew a walk to put runners on the corners for Tyler Lozano. But he would pop out to right field to end the inning.
The Rox continued the trend of putting the first two hitters of the inning on base in the 2nd inning when Zack Elliot and Brady Harlan walked and singled. After Gus Steiger walked to load the bases, Jordan Barth would be hit by a pitch to make it 4-1. A Landon Stephens fielder’s choice would then make it 5-1 St. Cloud as Harlan crossed home plate. Another two straight walks allowed the Rox to log their 6th run of the game after just two innings.
Marcus Pointer would go to his other Longhorn pitcher Owen Meaney when he relieved Mason Bryant in the top of the 3rd. Bryant gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 3 hits, 4 walks, and struck out 2 over 2 innings of work.
Both teams would go scoreless in the 3rd but the Rox got back on the board in the 4th when Freddy Achecar hit his 2nd double of the evening that gave St. Cloud a 7-1 lead. He would already have 5 RBI’s to his name in just the 4th inning.
Trae Robertson would issue two walks to Meckler and Kent at the start of the 5th inning, which would lead to his exit from the ballgame. He gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits, walked 6, and struck out none. Drew Garrett would appear in relief and had a rough outing as he hit Max Guzman, and walk Alex Tappen and Danny Zimmerman, making it 7-3 St. Cloud. He would be immediately replaced by Justin Wick still with no outs and the bases loaded.
Another run would be brought home when a routine Tyler Lozano ground ball went underneath the glove of Zack Elliot at second base. Justin Moore then kept the scoring going with an RBI single up the middle to bring home Max Guzman from 3rd. Two more runs would be scored by Alex Tappen and Danny Zimmerman to tie up the game at 7. Alex Rao would take the mound for his 11th appearance in the 6th inning and pitched a scoreless inning to keep the game tied.
Max Guzman drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the 6th inning which was the 9th issued by St. Cloud pitchers. Alex Tappen got his first hit of the evening afterward to put men of 1st and 2nd, which led to a Danny Zimmerman hit by a pitch to load the bases once again for Duluth. The Rox then went to the bullpen for the 3rd time of the evening, this time bringing in Blake Stelzer. But he would get the last two outs needed to keep the ballgame tied.
After Alex Rao pitched a scoreless 7th frame, Hance Smith would be the 5th pitcher of the game for the Rox when he entered for the bottom half of the 7th. He would also prove to be a valuable bat when he smacked a one-out double off the wall in center field that nearly left the yard in the 8th inning, but Rao induced two straight groundouts to strand him at 2nd. The score would remain at 7-7 as the bottom of the 8th began. Nic Kent led off with a single and advanced to 2nd and 3rd on passed balls. Alex Tappen would then give the Huskies an 8-7 lead with a sac fly that scored Kent.
Keaton Carattini would come in to try and get the save and the win for Duluth as the 9th frame began. He had no saves coming into this appearance but has given up just one run in 4 relief appearances. The first batter Zack Elliot flew out to the right fielder Alex Tappen, but Brady Harlan singled into center field to bring up Ben Carew. Harlan would then get in scoring position after stealing 2nd. Carew and Gus Steiger would ground out to seal the 8-7 win for Duluth.
Carattini has given up just one earned run through his first 5 outings out of the bullpen. He has somewhat established himself as the Huskies’ most efficient reliever, as he has never gone longer than 2.2 IP and has struck out 14. “I feel pretty relaxed and confident. It’s good to get back on the mound and compete with my teammates”, he said about his first few outings on the mound. “I like closing but ideally I’d see myself being a starter, but I’m fine with wherever the team needs me.”
The Huskies begin a two-game series against Willmar tonight. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:25 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
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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.