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Baseball: Crown sweeps series with Cougars

Blaise Fairbanks goes down the line of high-fives after hitting his first career home run in the first game against Crown Monday, April 8, in Morris. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times1 / 4
Mack O'Neil connects on this ball for a single against Crown Monday, April 8, in Morris. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times2 / 4
Thomas Eckstein releases a pitch on the mound for the University of Minnesota Morris against Crown College Monday, April 8, in Morris. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times3 / 4
Cougar shortstop Alex Baumann fields a ground ball in action against Crown Monday, April 8, in Morris. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times4 / 4

The University of Minnesota Morris baseball team fell to the Crown Storm, 9-8, in game one of a doubleheader on Monday, April 8. Crown (12-8, 4-0 UMAC) completed the sweep of UMM with a 15-13 win Tuesday, April 9. The game got underway on Monday evening, but was suspended due to darkness after three innings of play.

Crown 9, UM-Morris 8

Crown opened up the game with four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-0 lead. Minnesota Morris then got on the scoreboard on a solo homer from Blaise Fairbanks, which was his first career longball in the top of the second. Later in the inning, Josh Doss scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2 in favor of Crown.

The Storm then plated four runs in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 8-2. After a pair of scoreless innings, the Cougars scored two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to bring the score within two. In the fifth, Blake Haugen and Brady Jergenson scored on wild pitches then in the sixth, Jergenson hit a two-run homer.

The Cougars then plated another run via a wild pitch to get the score at 8-7 in favor of the Storm in the top of the seventh. Then in the bottom of the seventh, Crown got a run back on a wild pitch.

Trailing 9-7 in the top of the ninth, Fairbanks singled to left to bring the Cougars within one. Following an hour and 40 minute delay due to lightning, Crown secured the final two outs to get the 9-8 win.

Crown 15, UM-Morris 13

The Cougars got on board first in the top of the first inning when Alex Baumann scored from third on a throwing error from the Crown catcher. Crown responded with two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead.

The top of the second inning saw the Cougars scored a pair of runs on two wild pitches then later in the inning, Baumann hit a solo homer to give the Cougars a 4-2 lead.

The Crown offense then rattled off seven runs in the bottom second inning. Minnesota Morris cut into the Crown lead with four runs in the top of the third inning. Jergenson homered, Fairbanks scored on an error, Mack O’Neil scored on a single by Michael Nezerka and Logan Graves scored on a hit by Baumann.

Continuing the offensive surge, the Storm scored three times in the bottom of the third, which the Cougars responded with a pair of runs. Fairbanks singled up the middle to score Haugen and Nick Peterson scored on a fielder’s choice to trim the deficit to 12-10.

After the third inning, the two teams resumed play at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

After Minnesota Morris scored twice in the top of the fourth, Crown tacked on another two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring the score to 14-10. The Storm then added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up 15-10.

Minnesota Morris added three runs on two hits in the top of the seventh. Peterson hit a two-RBI double, scoring Haugen and Graves, and Jergenson singled to center field to score Peterson to cut into the Crown lead, but it wouldn't be enough to get the win.

The Cougars are back in action on Saturday, April 13, at North Central. The doubleheader gets underway at 1:30 p.m.