College Baseball: Ridgewater Warriors force a Game 3 in the playoffs
Ridgewater wins 7-3 in Game 2 after a 5-1 loss to Anoka-Ramsey in the best-of-3 series
WILLMAR — The Ridgewater College baseball team will live to see another day.
The Warriors split their best-of-3 opening-round Minnesota College Athletic Conference playoff series with the Anoka-Ramsey Golden Rams on Friday at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Ridgewater lost the opener 5-1, then beat Anoka-Ramsey in the second game 7-3.
The two teams play Game 3 at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bill Taunton Stadium.
“It’s win or go home,” Ridgewater head coach Tyler Hebrink said.
In Game 1, The Warriors had the bases loaded and no one out in the fourth inning. Anoka-Ramsey ace Josh Stoll was forced to leave the mound because of an injury. But the Golden Rams got three quick outs.
In the fifth, Anoka-Ramsey slugged a three-run home run off Ridgewater right-hander Reece Schwirtz.
“That completely changed momentum,” Hebrink said.
In Game 2, Ridgewater got a complete game from Jack Howard. The sophomore right-hander from Renville County West scattered eight hits and allowed one walk for the victory, setting up the must-win Game 3.
Sam Etterman had a big day, getting three hits in Game 2, including a three-run double in the sixth to break open a 2-0 Ridgewagter lead. The Warriors also got an important sacrifice fly from Bennett Knapper.
“It’s been a weird year,” said Hebrink, whose squad tied for first place in the MCAC Central Division with a 6-4 record. “It seems like every game has just been so tight. Our division is really tough.“Literally, every game has been one big hit or one big play that seems to make the difference and that’s just what happened today, Sam’s big hit for us and their three-run homer for them.”
Hebrink said he plans to start Knapper. The sophomore right-hander is from Yellow Medicine East and has a 1-1 record with a 4.50 earned-run average. He has struck out 18 and walked eight in 18 innings. The Warriors also have sophomores Josh Robb and Ty Schulte ready to go. Robb is a right-hander from St. Peter. Schulte is a left-hander from YME.
A win sends the Warriors back into the Region 13 tournament next Thursday in St. Cloud. It would be Ridgewater’s second straight regional after a long hiatus.