Huskies split with Northfield on Senior Night doubleheader
After a comeback win over Faribault on Tuesday, the Owatonna baseball team returned to Chuck Fuller Field in Dartts Park to host Northfield in a Big Nine Conference doubleheader.
Thursday night also happened to be Senior Night, where the Huskies were to recognize the future graduates on all their contributions to the program over the years.
In game one, there was one senior that decided to make it just a bit more memorable.
Despite allowing three runs late, Owatonna starting pitcher Jacob Gauthier fired 4 2/3 hitless innings to fend off the Raiders for a 6-3 win in game one Tuesday.
“At home it hasn’t been an easy thing for us, but overall, we took some momentum from Tuesday’s game in Faribault and we were down 3-0 in that game,” commented Huskies head coach Tate Cummings after the second game of the evening. “I thought we came back very nicely in that game, some great small ball played and a couple big hits.”
Gauthier was on his game early and it pretty much stayed that way for much of the contest. Through three innings, the senior faced just ten batters without allowing a hit. In fact, in the second inning, Gauthier needed just seven pitches to retire the side. Cummings noted that it was one of the better starts for the senior this season.
“This is one of his first games that he was really able to pitch deep into the game,” he said. “He got through the sixth inning for us which is awesome and I think that was important for him. It was good, he did what we needed.”
The senior held a no-hitter through 4 2/3 innings and then the Raiders started to dial in on Gauthier.
Managing to easily record the first two outs of the inning, Northfield's Hunter Koep was able to force the senior into a full-count prior to being walked. Just two batters later with runners on first and second, Seth Thompson delivered a RBI double, scoring both runners to give Northfield the early 2-0 lead. Thompson would extend the lead to 3-0 after Ryan Bielenberg delivered a RBI single.
Facing an all too familiar hole at home, Owatonna’s Zach Mensink and Ben Staska started the inning with back-to-back walks. With runners on first and second, Brock Hanson managed to reach safely on a throwing error by Northfield’s Nic Zabel, scoring Mensink, cutting the lead to 3-1. The following at-bat, Nolan Malo delivered an RBI single to bring in Staska, bringing the Huskies just a mere run away from tying the game. Malo’s RBI single was just the third hit of the game for Owatonna. For the game, the Huskies finished with eight hits.
After Kodey Kiel delivered a single, Tucker Alstead’s sacrifice fly to right tied the game at 3-3. Cummings added that Alstead’s hit was big. The final hit of the inning was Noah Budach’s RBI double to score Kiel to give the Huskies a 4-3 lead.
Holding a slim one-run lead, Gauthier appeared to regain his composure, allowing just two hits in his final two innings. In six innings of work, he registered four strikeouts and allowed just three runs on five hits. He also allowed five walks.
In the bottom of the inning, Tucker Alstead’s RBI double extended the Huskies’ lead to 6-3 after Spencer Parker Westphal and Spencer Glynn – who was pinch running for Brock Hanson – managed to reach base safely. Aside from Alstead’s double, Hanson single to lead-off the inning was the only other Huskies’ hit in the sixth inning and third since the two-hit showing in the fourth inning.
Boasting a three-run lead, Abe Havelka came to the mound in relief for Gauthier to record the save.
In game two, the Huskies were hitless until Nate Deason’s single in the bottom of the fifth. Owatonna had four hits in the night cap. Owatonna also utilized three arms from the bull pen, with Brady Schuster receiving the start as Owatonna fell 6-1. Havelka took the loss after coming in for Schuster and was relieved by Hanson in the fifth inning.