Pointers take two from Yellowjackets again

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After a rough Saturday afternoon in Stevens Point, the Yellowjacket baseball team was looking to get back in the win column on Sunday, and keep pace with the top of the WIAC as the post-season looms. The top four teams in the conference standings qualify for the playoffs, and entering play on Sunday the Yellowjackets sat in fifth place, making their final six games, beginning with Sunday's doubleheader against the Pointers, critical in their drive to reach the WIAC post-season for the first time.

Unfortunately, the first two of those final six games didn't go according to plan, as Stevens Point swept the final two games of the series, making next weekend's games with UW-Stout that much more meaningful in the hunt for the post-season.

Game 1
Stevens Point 6, Yellowjackets 3
Box Score

The Pointers struck first in the opener, putting two runs on the board in the top of the third inning, using pair of hits and a Yellowjacket error to get the scoring started.

A hit batsman and a single put the first two hitters on and the error brought the first run home to make it 1-0. A Clint Barnes RBI single later in the inning made it 2-0 Pointers. In the top of the fifth inning Sean Gerber had a two-run single, highlighting a four-run inning as Stevens Point pushed ahead 6-0.

That was more than enough offense for Pointer starter Jacob Herbst, who was solid in keeping the Yellowjackets off the board through seven innings. In the eighth, however, the Yellowjackets were finally able to get on the board.

Sam Holden (Spooner, Wis./Spooner) and Robbie Veith (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) had back-to-back one-out singles and Wyatt Soderquist (Cambridge, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti) followed with a double to center field to score Holden and make it 6-1. TJ Evanson (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North) singled in the next at bat, plating Veith and the Yellowjackets shaved the lead to 6-2. Evanson's single also chased Herbst from the game, but Luke Watson came in and closed the door, retiring Jeff Miller (Minneapolis, Minn./Washburn) and Tom Fairbanks (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) to snuff out the Yellowjacket rally.

In the bottom of the ninth the Yellowjackets got one more run when Shawn Lanners (Buckman, Minn./Royalton) took a Watson pitch over the fence in right field for his first home run of the season and making the final score 6-3.

The Yellowjackets had 11 hits in the first game, with Veith, Soderquist, Miller and Holden all picking up two.

Travis Elwood (Ramsey, Minn./Anoka) got the start for the Yellowjackets and was tagged with the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits in five innings. He walked five and struck out five and is now 1-5 on the year. Alex Beers (Robbinsdale, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) pitched the final four innings.

Jimmy Coady went 3-for-4 to lead the Pointer offense. Bobby Gregorich and Dan Douglas added two hits apiece for Stevens Point.

Herbst got the win to improve to 7-1 on the year and Watson earned his third save.

Game 2
Stevens Point 8, Yellowjackets 7
Box Score

The Yellowjackets led for most of the second game before some late-inning heroics propelled Stevens Point to the come-from-behind win.

In the bottom of the first the Yellowjackets jumped ahead when, with Soderquist on first and one out Evanson sent a pitch over the fence in left field to make it 2-0. In the bottom of the fourth Miller led off with a single and Fairbanks doubled him home to increase the Yellowjacket lead.

Starter Kyle Gauger (Spooner, Wis./Spooner) kept the Pointers at bay through four innings, but that changed in the top half of the fifth inning when the Pointers evened the score. With two out and the bases full, Coady drilled a ball to right field, clearing the bases and making it a 3-3 game.

The Yellowjackets answered in the bottom of the fifth, however, when Soderquist doubled home Tyler Duex (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls) to retake the lead at 4-3.

Back-to-back walks started the bottom of the sixth inning for the Yellowjackets, and they made the Pointers pay. With two runners in scoring position, Duex reached on an error to score Fairbanks and Veith followed with a double, scoring Tony Remund (Andover, Minn./Coon Rapids) to give the Yellowjackets a 6-3 edge.

Stevens Point came roaring back in the top of the seventh with a two-out rally. Gauger hit Coady with a pitch and then a wild pitch moved him into scoring position. He came around to score on an error to make it 6-4. Following a pitching change that saw Michael Doescher (Wausau, Wis./Wausau West) come into the game, Nick Douglas added an RBI single later in the inning and Stevens Point was back to within one.

The Pointers took the lead for good in the top of the eighth inning when Coady hit a monster home run over the fence in right field to make it 7-6. Pinch hitter Brandon Kranz drove in an insurance run in the top of the ninth with a single to stretch the lead to 8-6.

The Yellowjackets closed out the scoring in the last of the ninth when Evanson hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot over the fence in left to make the final 8-7.

Evanson and Miller led the Yellowjackts with two hits each. Evanson also scored twice and drove in three. He now has ten home runs on the season, a team high and tying his output from a year ago. Evanson also has the leam lead in RBI with 34.

Coady had the big game for the Pointers, going 4-for-4, scoring twice and driving in five. Dan Douglas also had two hits.

Gauger had one of his best outings of the season, pitching six-and-two-thirds innings, giving up seven runs (five earned) while surrendering seven hits. He walked one and struck out four before yielding to Doescher, who was credited with the loss. Doescher allowed three runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts in an inning-and-a-third. He is 0-1 on the season.

Max Frederick got the win in relief for the Pointers and he is now 2-3 on the year. Nick Prebelski picked up his second save of the year.

With the losses, the Yellowjacket losing streak has reached six games. They remain in fifth place in the conference standings and their seven victories in WIAC play ties them with third place UW-Oshkosh and fourth place UW-La Crosse. But because of the weather issues throughout the spring, not everyone has played the same number of games. The Yellowjackets have played 20 conference games, while La Crosse has played 15 WIAC games and Oshkosh 14. Regardless, there is still plenty that needs to be decided and all of that will be sorted out during the season's final week.

The Yellowjackets (14-21, 7-13 WIAC) will close out the 2013 regular season with a four-game series at UW-Stout. Game time from Nelson Field, the home of the Blue Devils, is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.