COON RAPIDS, Minn. – North Central baseball returned home for the start of a two-day doubleheader set against Finlandia University. For the first time in two weeks, weather did not affect the originally scheduled date. Unfortunately, the warm weather was not enough to push the Rams on top, dropping the pair, 3-2 in 10 innings and 2-0.
Bryce Riege started on the mound for NCU in game one, and threw a complete game 10 innings and only gave up three runs, two earned. Finlandia was able to find hits, collecting 11, but each side was limited in scoring runs. Grant Payne and Blazsen Ferreira each found favor at the plate, Payne going 3 for 4, and Ferreira went 2 for 4. The latter being responsible for the Rams only runs of the game, when he hit a two RBI single up the middle of the field.
North Central had opportunities late as the match extended past the scheduled 7 innings. In the bottom of the eighth, with runners on second and third, Lions pitcher Cole Howard forced Eli Valder to pop up for the second out. Next, the bases became loaded after Robert Donohoe walked, but Ferreira could not drive in the potential winning run, grounding out to the first baseman. Finlandia found the winning run in the 10th frame when an error from third allowed the base runner from second base to score.
Low scoring followed each line up into game two. Ferreira started for North Central and gave the team its second complete game of the afternoon. He allowed only two runs, one earned on four hits, striking out four batters. The Lions found the winning run on a sacrifice fly ball in the fourth, and added to their point total scoring a run on a pair of throwing errors in the sixth inning. NCU could only muster three hits, but fell short generating runs.
Brandon Scott extended his hitting streak to eight games, to continue the impressive string of games at the plate this season.
Next up, North Central (3-18, 2-6 UMAC) and Finlandia University (6-20) move onto the next pair of doubleheaders on Saturday, April 22. The scheduled first pitch is set for 12:00PM at Wintercrest Park.