On Saturday, April 19, the Blue Knights traveled to Willmar for an MCCC South Division match-up against conference rival Ridgewater College. The Knights dropped two close games to the Warriors, 4-5 and 0-1.
In the first half of the doubleheader, Andy Fitzgerald pitched a complete game, allowing four early runs, two in each of the first two innings. Fitzgerald gave up only four hits and struck out five hitters. Four of Ridgewater’s five runs were earned.
Free passes made the difference in the game. Ridgewater batters worked four walks with three getting tagged by pitches.
In the top of the first, Chase Brown reached first after getting nailed by a pitch, the fifteenth time he’s been hit this season. Will Dahlgren batted next, driving a homerun over the right field fence—his third of the year—giving DCTC a quick 2-0 lead.
The Knights scored single runs in the third and fifth innings. After five innings, the score was knotted at 4-4. In the top of the sixth, DCTC placed a runner in scoring position but couldn’t drive the run home.
In the bottom of the sixth, Fitzgerald hit the first batter of the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second. Fitzgerald then threw a wild pitch, moving the runner to third base. Another wild pitch gave Ridgewater the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Brown led off the inning with a solid single through the right side. He stole second and then third, following an infield popup. Batting next, Marcus Fitzgerald lined out to first base. With two outs, Evan Lucius took the plate. He swung hard and connected while Brown was attempting to steal home. The ball looked like a hit, but the Warrior third baseman made a diving catch to end the game.
Will Dahlgren ended up going two for three with three runs scored and one two-run homer. Marcus Fitzgerald went three for four with one RBI.
Game two produced a classic pitching duel. DCTC’s Dave Geiger and Ridgewater’s Nick Locknikar combined to allow only six hits. Geiger walked five batters while hitting two. He struck out seven, hurling his way out of jams throughout the game.
In the second inning, Geiger struck out two batters to escape a bases-loaded situation. Ridgewater loaded the bases in the sixth off a solid single, a botched bunt attempt that turned into a hit, and an infield hit. With no outs, Geiger worked a force out at home, a strikeout, and a fly out to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Ridgewater loaded the bases without a hit in the seventh. One batter got hit by a pitch and another reached base on an error off a bunt attempt. After a sacrifice bunt put runners on first and third, head coach Tim Huber elected to walk the third hitter, Matt Bauer.
Jeremie Kruse relieved Geiger with one out. Ridgewater failed on a squeeze attempt on Kruse’s first pitch. With two outs and runners on first and second, Nate Alfson singled up the middle, driving in the winning run.