Cass Kreitlow threw a complete game and a spectacular eighth inning snag by Andy Powell preserved a one-run lead as the Hamline University baseball team moved into the MIAC tournament championship game with a 4-3 win over St. Thomas. Box score
UST 3 5 2
HU 4 5 0
The win marks the 27th of the season for the Pipers, the most in school history.
Hamline played the role of the home team on the scoreboard in the game played at Veterans Field in Minnetonka.
The Tommies opened up the second game of the championship bracket with a double to left center field. That set up a two-run homer as a hit the left field line by JD Dorgan that appeared foul, drifted fair in the strong post-storm winds.
Hamline responded immediately in the bottom of the inning, as the first two batters – Andy Powell and Tony Rogers – earned free trips on base. Powell was hit to lead off the inning before Rogers drew a walk.
Jordan Buck advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Andy King knocked a double up the middle to drive in both runs, tying the score at 2-2.
A solo homer over the right field fence in the top of the second put St. Thomas up 3-2, but Hamline doubled their run total in the bottom of the inning to go up 4-3.
The Pipers manufactured their runs in the second in an almost identical fashion to the opening inning. JD Modrynski was hit by a pitch to lead off and Cory Miller reached on an error to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt by Ryan Hackel moved the duo to second and third before they both scored on a double down the left field line by Powell.
After giving up the home run in the second, starting pitcher Cass Kreitlow retired 18 straight batters through the first hitter of the eighth inning. St. Thomas then loaded the bases with two outs, putting Dorgan back at the plate. Dorgan lined a ball just to the first base side of second and Powell made a diving leap to his right to rob the Tommies of the tying run and end the inning.
Kreitlow came back out for the ninth, and a grounder to Modrynski at first ended the game to send the Pipers into Sunday’s championship game.
Kreitlow struck out six batters and walked two for the win.
Hamline is now 27-12 overall while St. Thomas is 25-15 overall. The Pipers will next play at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 14, at Veterans Field in Minnetonka. They will take on the winner of tonight’s 6:00 p.m. game between Macalester and St. Thomas.
Hamline needs to only win one game on Sunday to win the title in the double-elimination tournament. Macalester or St. Thomas would have to win two games against the Pipers. If a second game is necessary on Sunday, it will be played 2:30 p.m. in Minnetonka.