As the home team in the opening game, the Pipers scored five runs on four hits and two Maranatha errors in the third inning. The first run came as Cory Miller (Fy., Coon Rapids, Minn.) reached first and advanced to third on a Maranatha fielding error at first base with one out. Andy Powell (So., Minneapolis, Minn.) then hit an RBI ground out to score Miller.
Dan Kaczrowski (Sr., St. Anthony, Minn.) became the next Piper base runner with a single to left field. He then stole second and third and Lincoln Hughes (Jr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) drove Kaczrowski home with a stand-up triple to left center. Hughes scored the third run of the game when Tres Humerickhouse (So., Farmington, Minn.) hit an RBI-single to center field.
The second Maranatha fielding error of the inning, this time at shortstop, landed Alex Buresh (Jr., Vadnais Heights, Minn.) at first base and moved Humerickhouse to second. The pair scored the fourth and fifth runs of the inning as Bill Sand (Sr., White Bear Township, Minn.) dove into third for the second Piper triple of the inning.
The Pipers added another run to the board in the bottom of the fifth, capitalizing on another Maranatha fielding error, this time in left field on Humerickhouse’s at-bat, as he advanced to second on the play. Buresh hit a stand-up triple to right field to score the final run of the game.
Piper starting pitcher Tyler Welch (Jr., Bettendorf, Iowa) faced the minimum number of batters through three innings before a single became the Crusaders’ first hit. Welch went the distance for the Pipers as he struck out eight batters and gave up just three hits and no walks.
The Pipers had five different batters collect their five hits in the opening game, as Kaczrowski, Hughes, Humerickhouse and Sand all went 1-for-3 and Buresh went 1-for-2 at the plate. Sand had two RBI.
Game 2 Recap
In game two, Hamline moved to the role of the visitors. They started the game’s scoring in the top of the third when Miller scored on a wild pitch after hitting a triple to center field.
Powell drew a walk and Andy King (Fy., Fort Myers, Fla.) reached on error before J.D. Modrynski (So., White Bear Townships, Minn.) drew the second walk of the inning to load the bases. Buresh then hit a sacrifice fly to center field with one out, doubling the Piper run count to two as Powell tagged up and scored.
Hamline’s score doubled on the next at-bat once again as Sand hit a two-RBI double to left center field, scoring King and Modrynski.
The Pipers went up 6-0 in the fourth inning on a walk, an error and a double. Ryan Preese (So., Champlin, Minn.) drew the lead-off walk followed by Powell reaching on a one-out error. The duo came home on a two-RBI double to center field by Kaczrowski.
In the next inning, Hamline loaded the bases with one out, as Buresh and Zurbey walked and Presse hit a high single that fell to the turf just beyond second base. Miller came to the plate and his hard-hit single down the right field line scored Buresh and Zurbey, putting the Pipers up 8-0.
Hamline then put five more runs on the board in the sixth on two hits, no errors and a wild pitch as six Pipers drew walks.
Starter Michael Bland (Fy., Minnetonka, Minn.) tossed 12 strikeouts, walked none and gave up just three hits in throwing a complete game for Hamline as he earned his first collegiate win and shutout.
Kaczrowski went 2-for-4 in game two with four RBI while Sand was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Miller added two RBI on 2-for3 hitting.
With the non-conference wins, the Pipers move back over .500 at 10-9, 2-0 MIAC. They will return to MIAC play on Wednesday, April 1, at Bethel. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.