Gustavus baseball finished season with win

Zachary Tlusty-

This past weekend, the Gustavus Baseball team wrapped up their season with a pair of games against conference rival Hamline. The Gustavus offense went out with a bang, putting up seventeen runs over the two games, to give them something to build on going into next season. Gustavus claimed game one by a score of 8-7 and game two by a score of 9-3.

In the first game, the Gusties got the scoring early, scoring a run in the top half of the first inning to claim an early 1-0 lead. Senior starter Adam Biewen posted a zero in the bottom of the first and allowed the Gusties to tack more runs on in the second, scoring twice more. Another Biewen zero was followed by three more Gustie runs for an early commanding 6-0 lead over Hamline.

This once commanding lead quickly evaporated in the bottom of the third as Gustavus allowed five Hamline runs to cross the plate, cutting the lead from six to one. Junior reliever Hunter Sheehan entered in the middle of the third and got out of a bases-loaded jam for the Gusties.

“Coming into the game with bases loaded and one out, I knew my role was to limit the damage and the runs scored. I tried to get a ground ball early to get our team out of it and was successful. The rest of the game I knew I just had to attack the batters and let my defense work behind me. The faster I could get the hitters back up to plate was the game plan for the rest of the game since I knew we were going to score more runs,” Sheehan said.

Gustavus stretched the lead back out to two runs in the fourth but Hamline tied up the game in the fifth at 7-7. A single off the bat from Senior Bryce Novak knocked in First-year catcher Dylan Kopesky in what would be the winning run in an 8-7 win.

Sheehan would throw 2.2 innings to allow the Gusties a chance to stay in the game and hold on to the victory. Senior Chris Knowles went 3-4 on the day to help lead and drive the Gustie offense in a high-scoring game.

“I always just try to do whatever I can to help the team win so whatever that role might be I am happy to do it. This game I was able to help us offensively and that was great so I just take a lot of pride in doing my job whatever it might be that day,” Knowles said.

Game two saw the offenses take a few innings to get going as Gustavus only broke through in the third inning, managing to get a single run across the plate. Hamline would answer right back in the bottom half of the inning as they scored twice to give them the lead over Gustavus, 2-1. As they have for most of the year, Gustavus fought right back and tied up the game in the fourth to make the score 2-2.

It was in the fifth inning when the Gustie offense exploded as the lineup put five runs across the plate. Kopesky and First-year Danny Gavin both hit RBI doubles in the frame while Sophomore Ross Hebel and Junior Brady Schmitz both hit sac flies. Knowles knocked in a run with a single to put Gustavus up 7-2. Gustavus scored once again in the sixth and again in the seventh as a homerun came off the bat of Knowles for his tenth and team-leading home run. Junior Luke Siegle would go 3-5 in the game, Knowles would homer, and First-year lefty Benny McDonald would strike out ten batters in seven innings of relief work.

“I came in early and knew I had the chance to go for a while. With that in min, I took it one inning at a time while trying to strike everyone out in their last game. Everything felt good and was staying consistent so the coaches let me ride it out as we had to win,” McDonald said.

“I just want to thank all the seniors that won’t be here next year and congratulate them on their amazing careers. I am really blessed to be a part of this team and really thankful to be able to play one more year,” Knowles said.

After just missing the playoffs this year, Gustavus will look to build off of late-season success and carry that into next year hoping to make another run at the MIAC title.

“We were a team with high expectations for us and injuries came quickly and often unfortunately. We had some younger guys step up in roles and they did outstanding. Next year we will be losing some of the staples of our lineup and from the pitching staff but we will be returning five seniors for their fifth year which will be exciting and hopefully getting everyone back from injury which will be big. I have very high expectations for us and there is no doubt in my mind that we’ll be back in the playoffs next year,” Sheehan said.

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