Baseball hot in AZ

Zachary Tlusty-

The baseball team took a trip down to sunny Arizona to play in the Tucson Invitational. The team was slated to play nine games, but two were canceled due to rain. The Gusites would finish the trip with a record of 5-2 and a total season record of 7-2. This is an improvement from last year when Gustavus ended the Tucson Invitational with a record of 2-6.

“It was a lot of fun being able to play every day and go compete with the team. We have an awesome group of guys so it was just a blast being with them the whole time and getting to play. We had some rain and a couple of days where we were not able to play but we still got a lot of games in and you really just have to enjoy it,” Senior Chris Knowles said.

The Gusties would start their seven-game slate with a doubleheader against Concordia University Wisconsin. Gustavus had little issue dismantling the Falcons, as they scored 26 runs throughout 14 innings. The score of the first game was 9-4 in favor of the Gusties while Senior Mitch Casperson earned his second win in as many starts, going four innings with two earned runs and five strikeouts. Senior Gavin Baker would go 2-4 with 3 RBIs and a walk. Junior Brady Schmitz went 2-3, scored a run, and cashed in an RBI.

“I just try to keep it simple by not swinging too hard and focusing on putting the ball in play and getting on base any way that I can, whether that be hits, walks or hit by pitches. Being in a lineup filled with guys that can all hit for power, I’ve kind of embraced being the guy that gets on base for my teammates to hit me in,” Schmitz said.

The second game ended in a score of 17-4 with the Gusties on top once more. Concordia led 4-3 in the second inning until Gustavus scored 14 unanswered runs ultimately putting the game out of reach. Junior Luke Siegle earned his second win, going four innings with four runs earned on six hits with six strikeouts. Baker led batters going 3-4 with four runs and two RBIs.

The next matchup for the Gusties was against Wheaton where Gustavus fell, losing by a score of 9-11. The Gusties had kept it close for most of the game and Senior pitcher Adam Biewen had a great starting performance, allowing one run and three hits through five innings of work. Going into the eighth inning, Gustavus trailed 6-11 until Knowles hit a 3-run homerun to cut into the lead – but it was not enough.

Gustavus had no problem bouncing back in their next matchup against Dakota Wesleyan in a game that ended in a score of 14-4. Gustavus totaled 15 hits and did not have to pay the price of leaving ten base runners stranded throughout the game. Knowles totaled three hits this game and Sophomore pitcher Nick Henteges tallied his first win of the season.

Gustavus kept the bats hot against Howard Payne. Especially with the performance of Senior Drake Siens who went 5-5 scoring three runs, six RBIs, two home runs, and a walk. The Gusties ended up defeating Howard Payne by a score of 15-5. Senior Mitch Casperson earned his third win of the season after entering the game in relief after the game was resumed after a rain delay. Casperson tossed six scoreless innings with five hits and six strikeouts.

Gustavus’ bats were stalled in their matchup against Wesleyan College. Wesleyan’s Wesley Miller threw seven scoreless innings leading to the Gustie’s 5-0 defeat. Despite both teams totaling six hits, Wesleyan was able to take advantage of their baserunners and that led to them being able to beat the Gusties.

Gustavus had no issue bouncing back in their final matchup in Arizona. This time, they were on the right side of a shutout beating Sul Ross State 13-0. Making his second start of the Arizona trip, Biewen earned his first win after five shutout innings. He allowed three hits with three strikeouts. Hentges and First-year Owen Robinson each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the game. Knowles hit two homers and cashed in 8 RBIs while Siens totalled four hits and had five RBIs.

Knowles’s performance in Arizona led to him being named as the MIAC Player of the Week. He hit 15-for-30 with 10 runs scored, two doubles, and three home runs. He is also carrying a nine-game hitting streak as has been able to get a hit at least once every game this season.

“It’s an honor to win that award, especially with how many great players there are in this conference. I’m grateful to be able to receive it. We have a lot of guys on our team who were deserving as well and my teammates are the reason I was able to have success,” said Knowles

The Gusties will travel down to St. Louis to play two doubleheaders against Washington University. The games are on Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

There is plenty of baseball left this season, so make sure to keep supporting your Gusties all season long!