Seattle University continued to put together significant offense, taking the early lead, holding off a Minnesota rally, and then pulling away down the stretch, as the Redhawks defeated the Golden Gophers, 13-3, Friday afternoon in a non-conference collegiate baseball game held at Triton Field on the campus of Edmonds Community College.
Seattle U struck first in the bottom of the third inning when Cameron Sterne (Shoreline, Wash.) drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dalton Hurd (Bend, Ore.), and came around to score on a two-out single by Sheldon Stober (Kent, Wash.). Minnesota tied the game in the top of the fourth inning as Matt Fiedler hit a leadoff single, advanced to second when Austin Athmann walked, reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Micah Coffey, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Connor Schaefbauer.
The Redhawks retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) drew a leadoff walk, Lucas Denney (Goldendale, Wash.) followed with a single, Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.) laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position, and Jeffrey Morgan (Auburn, Wash.) sent a single up the middle that brought home both runs. In the fifth inning, Stober picked up a triple when the Minnesota fielder slipped on the wet turf and came in to score on a single by Sean Sutton (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho).
Minnesota (7-4) cut into the Redhawk lead in the sixth inning when Fiedler led off with a double and Athmann followed with a home run to right-center field, bringing the Gophers to within one at 4-3. However, Seattle U starter Tarik Skubal (Kingman, Ariz.) settled down and retired the next three batters in order to keep the Redhawks ahead.
Seattle U responded in the bottom of the sixth as Andreychuk was hit by a pitch and Morgan followed with a home run to left field. With two outs, Hurd drew a walk, and Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.) hit a long ball over the wall in right field, extending the Redhawk advantage to 8-3.
Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) came on in relief of Skubal and pitched the final three innings for his first save of the season, allowing just two hits and one walk. Skubal picked up his fourth win of the season in as many starts, giving up five hits, two walks, and three runs in six innings while striking out four batters.
The Redhawks continued scoring in the later innings, picking up two runs in the seventh inning on a Carpenter solo home run and wild pitch with the bases loaded that scored Andreychuk. Seattle U added three runs in the eighth inning on a Carpenter sacrifice fly and RBI singles by Curtis Perrin (Vancouver, Wash.) and Andreychuk.
All nine Redhawks in the starting lineup scored at least one run each, with Morgan going 3-for-5 with a run scored and four RBI. Stober also went 3-for-4 as Seattle U pounded out 13 hits in earning its ninth victory over the past 10 games.
“We really came out aggressive today and controlled the strike zone on offense. Every time we got into a hitters’ count, we produced big hits,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “Connor did a great job keeping them in check after the (75-minute rain) delay (in the bottom of the seventh inning), and our defense was outstanding.”
Seattle University (9-4) and Minnesota are scheduled to play the second game of the four-game series Saturday, March 12, at 2 p.m. back at Bannerwood Park, but weather will probably dictate when and where the game is ultimately played. For the most up-to-date information regarding the Redhawks, visit GoSeattleU.com or follow Seattle U Athletics (@su_athletics) and Seattle U Baseball (@SU_Baseball) on Twitter.