The Yellowjackets returned to action Monday afternoon for games against Grand View University, from Des Moines, Iowa and Williams College of Williamstown, Mass. The Yellowjackets were unable to seal a victory in their game against Grand View, allowing a 3-run home run to send the game into extra innings and ultimately be on the losing side of a walk-off hit. The loss didn't seem to faze the Yellowjackets, however, as they responded with 9-3 win over Williams, splitting the day's doubleheader.
Grand View 6, Yellowjackets 5 (10 innings)
The Yellowjackets got on the board quickly when leadoff hitter Robbie Veith (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) drew a walk from Vikings pitcher Joe Ramberg and would advance to third base on a pair of wild pitches. With the easy opportunity to score, the Yellowjackets traded outs to gain the early lead on the Vikings, 1-0.
Dan Genrich (Wausau, Wis./Wausau West) took the mound for the Yellowjackets, making his third start of the season. He made little work of the Vikings in the first inning, pitching a perfect 1-2-3 inning.
Genrich's success didn't look like it would last in the second inning as Blake Marchant drilled a leadoff double to the left field fence. The Vikings would play small ball, advancing Marchant to thirdbase on Austin Piske's sacrifice bunt. However, Genrich was able to wiggle his way out of the inning and escaped any scoring threat the Vikings had.
Wyatt Soderquist (Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti) and Jeff Miller (Minneapolis, Minn./Washburn) helped extend the Yellowjackets lead in the third inning by delivering a sacrifice fly and an RBI walk, respectively. Both runs were a result of the Yellowjackets taking advantage of two Viking errors, both on Ramberg trying to field sacrifice bunts.
The Vikings would get on the board in the bottom of the third, when speedy centerfielder Micah Loegering put himself into scoring position and Zac Smit delivered an RBI single putting the Vikings on the board, trailing 3-1.
Ramberg and Genrich would settle in, not allowing the other to score until the Vikings narrowed the Yellowjackets lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth with a successful safety squeeze by Piske.
Soderquist, TJ Evanson (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North) and Miller would help the Yellowjackets respond, combining to score two runs in the top of the seventh, thanks again to another fielding error by Ramberg, his third of the game.
The Vikings would strike back at the Yellowjackets, and strike hard. After Genrich allowed a walk and single, Cody Johnson (Owatonna, Minn./Owatonna) was called on in relief to face Marchant. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat Marchant drove a ball over the left field fence for a three-run home run, tying the game 5-5.
Neither team was able to get on the board in the ninth, calling for extra innings to determine the winner.
The Yellowjackets developed a threat in the top of the tenth, but a double play slashed their hopes and gave the Vikings the momentum they needed to finish the game.
Johnson allowed a leadoff single to Kevin Soine and issued a walk. The Vikings called upon pinch hitter Dalton Speers and Speers delivered a game winning RBI single to right field to score Soine.
Johnson recorded the loss for the Yellowjackets giving up two earned runs in two-plus innings of work. Genrich completed seven innings, striking out five and giving up four earned runs. The Yellowjackets scattered eight hits in the game, two belonging to Tom Fairbanks (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd).
Yellowjackets 9, Williams 3
In their second game of the day, the Yellowjackets desperately needed a quality pitching performance to help support their offensive productivity. Starter Kyle Gauger (Spooner, Wis./Spooner) would do just that, throwing a complete game and giving up just three earned runs to earn his first victory of the season.
The Ephs would jump out to an early two run lead as Taylor Mondshein and Darren Hartwell laced two singles to start the game. After a sacrifice fly and to load the bases, Marco Hernandez delivered a two-run single.
Fairbanks and Tony Remund (Andover, Minn./Coon Rapids) would help the Yellowjackets tie the game in second, hitting balls sharply for a single and triple, respectively. Brady Flaherty (Balsam Lake, Wis./Unity) would also be credited for an RBI in the inning. The Yellowjackets would extend their lead in the third as Fairbanks laced a looping a three-run homerun over the right field fence.
The lead was enough for Gauger as he settled in and went to work, not allowing the Ephs to score and scattering seven hits over the next six innings.
The Yellowjackets would tack on insurance runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to help extend their lead to six runs by the end of the eighth. Miller and Evanson each hit towering home runs in the process.
The Ephs would add a run in the ninth, but weren't able to mount a serious rally off Gauger securing the Yellowjackets 9-3 win, their fourth victory of the season.
The Yellowjackets will take the diamond again on Wednesday, March 20 for a doubleheader against Augsburg College, from Minneapolis, Minn. The games will be played at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. MDT.