College Baseball: Ridgewater Warriors win a share of the MCAC Central
Ridgewater finishes atop the division after sweeping MN State-Fergus Falls
WILLMAR — With an improbable sweep of Minnesota State-Fergus Falls on Wednesday, the Ridgewater baseball team claimed a share of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Central Division.
Playing at Bill Taunton Stadium, the Warriors overcame an 8-1 deficit to win Game 1, 14-13. Ridgewater used that momentum in Game 2 for a 14-3 victory over five innings.
With the sweep, Ridgewater (6-4 MCAC, 9-11 overall) is one of four teams — including St. Cloud Technical & Community College, Alexandria Tech and Anoka-Ramsey — to claim a share of the Central Division.
“There was a little bit of nerves going into the game because the guys knew what was at stake,” said Warriors head coach Tyler Hebrink. “This group has battled all year and we’ve played in a lot of close games. That helped us in the first game for sure.”
Sam Etterman, a freshman from Willmar, had the game-winning hit with a two-run walk-off double. He finished with four hits. Nolan Spencer, a sophomore from Zimmerman, hit a home run in Game 1. Josh Robb, a sophomore from St. Peter, had a bases-clearing triple. Nikson Knapper, a freshman from Yellow Medicine East, collected his first college win on the mound.
Etterman’s bat came through big in the nightcap. He hit his first college home run on the field he played his high-school games. Bennett Knapper, a sophomore from YME, also hit a homer. Robb was the winning pitcher.
“I’m definitely proud of the group,” Hebrink said. “Our goal was to win the conference this year. It’s pretty awesome.”
The MCAC tournament gets underway this weekend. By virtue of a tiebreaker, Ridgewater is the No. 3 seed and will play No. 4 Anoka-Ramsey in a best-of-three series. Games 1 and 2 take place at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. Game 3, if necessary, is at 1 p.m. Saturday. All three games will take place in Willmar.
SCTC is the No. 1 seed, followed by Alexandria Tech. Central Lakes College is the fifth seed and MN State-Fergus Falls is the sixth seed.
Game 2: Ridgewater 14, MN State-FF 3
Game 1: Ridgewater 14, MN State-FF 13