Megan Brownell photojournalist
Gorilla baseball played a triangular match up against the University of Sioux Falls and Metro State University Feb. 17-19. The Gorilla’s took both games against USF, but after beating MSU day one they lost to them day two. Head coach Bob Fornelli felt good about the wins Friday and Saturday, but not as great about splitting on Sunday.
“I thought we played pretty well Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday we played pretty average,” Fornelli said. “We did some good things throughout the day, but we will continue to get better.”
On day one they faced USF and won 23-2. PSU started off fast and took an early 8-0 lead. They scored three more in the fourth inning, then six more in the fifth inning to push a now 17-0 lead. USF was able to score two runs of their own after a pitching change to make it 17-2, but six more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning pushed the Gorillas to go up by 21. After that, the game was run-ruled.
They next faced MSU and won 6-5. MSU started off the game with a 1-0 lead after the top of the first, but PSU quickly answered with three runs to make it 3-1. MSU then scored another run in the fourth inning, and scored two runs in the fifth inning to lead 4-3. PSU answered with three of their own with a two run home run from junior infielder Cade Clemmons to lead 6-4. MSU scored one more in the top of the ninth in an attempt to tie the game, but PSU held on to win. Fornelli looked back at the weekend and some highlights about players stepping up on the field.
“We had a bunch of guys step up offensively and play pretty good, I thought we ran the bases well and we just need to continue to get better everyday,” Fornelli said.
Next PSU faced USF for the second time and won 14-11. PSU got to an early 4-0 lead after two innings. USF scored two to get on the board in the fourth inning, but PSU answered with three more to extend their lead. USF then answered with seven runs to take their first lead 9-7. PSU tied it up with one run each in the next two innings, before USF took it back with another run in the seventh. PSU was able to take it back with five runs in the eighth inning, giving them the win.
They last played MSU again, and lost 14-8. MSU took an early 3-1 lead after the first inning, but PSU took their first lead 4-3 after the second inning. MSU tied it back up in the third, but PSU followed with two runs to take their lead back. MSU scored four more to take a 8-6 lead, but PSU cut it to just one with another run in the fifth inning. MSU was able to pull away with six more runs to win the game. Graduate student left handed pitcher Zac Shoemaker looked back at the weekend, and how ending it with a loss felt.
“Losing the last game of the weekend left a little bit of bad taste on the weekend,” Shoemaker said. “We used a ton of guys and many were able to step-up when given their opportunities.”
After those games, Shoemaker was awarded the MIAA pitcher of the week.
“It is always a good feeling getting recognition for your outings, we have all been putting in countless hours in the fall, winter, and spring so to have honors like this adds another layer of fulfillment,” Shoemaker said.
Lastly, they played a non-conference matchup against Oklahoma Baptist University on Feb 21, and lost 9-1. Through seven innings, OBU held a 9-0 lead, but a home run from junior infielder Trey McClelland in the top of the eighth helped put the gorillas on the board.
Gorilla baseball will begin conference play with home matchups against Missouri Southern State University starting Feb 24-26.