Story courtesy of Aaron Hagen, Daily Globe.
WORTHINGTON -- Strong pitching performances carried the Minnesota West baseball team to a 3-1 record during Saturday and Sunday's John Spiegelhoff Memorial Classic.
"I'm pleased," MW head coach TD Hostikka said. "I would have liked to have got four, of course, but we are winners of eight of our last 10 against pretty good competition. Pitching (Sunday) was outstanding. Eight hits in two games and 21 strikeouts over two games. Our pitchers are still really pitching well."
West (12-13) defeated Ridgewater 7-2 Saturday before falling to Northland 11-0 in the nightcap. On Sunday, the Bluejays earned a 3-1 victory over Northland and then defeated Central Lakes 6-0.
Eric Alicea Pachero (4-0) got things going for West on Saturday on the mound, throwing a complete game as the Bluejays defeated Ridgewater. He allowed one earned run on two hits while striking out six.
Naythan Arroyo won Sunday's first game, allowing one earned run on two hits while striking out 11 in a complete-game effort. Jorge Marcano put the exclamation point on the weekend with another strong outing. The right hander allowed no runs and four hits while striking out nine and walking one in six innings against Central Lakes.
West's only loss of the weekend came in the second game on Saturday. Defense was a struggle for MW against the Pioneers as it committed five errors before recording four outs in the game.
"We had 11 runs and two of them were earned," Hostikka said. "We had six total errors in the game. They were 1-13 before playing them and I think our guys started looking at that. If we would have remembered that's what people started thinking about us after coming out of Florida at 4-10, maybe they would have thought about that. The other thing too, they kind of got full of themselves. We won five in a row and they thought, 'Wow, we're really good.' Saturday's Game 2 showed that we're not very good."
But Sunday was a different story as West won both contests.
"It was a scratch-out six today and the three this morning, two of them were in the same inning," Hostikka said. "It was 1-1 going into the top of the seventh and we put together a little rally and they were big. We had three big hits, three doubles in a row scored the two runs to go up 3-1."
Nathanial Owens started off the seventh with a double before Edwin Negron (3-for-4) doubled him home. Gustavo Landin hit the third consecutive double in the inning. Carlo Adrian Zorola Gonzalez -- who had two hits against Northland Saturday and two more against Ridgewater -- had an RBI against the Pioneers on Sunday.
In the nightcap, the Bluejays took advantage of nine walks issued by CL pitchers.
"What I said to the guys afterwards, we didn't necessarily hit the ball all over the place, but we really did things well when we needed to," Hostikka said. "In the sixth inning, we got the first two guys on and we put two balls on the right side to score two runs to make it 6-0. We executed a suicide squeeze. Those are things that are going to help us win ballgames in the long run. Being able to do the things to score two or three runs that we need to score."
Muriel and Jeremie Garcia drew walks to start the game and both would score on bases-loaded walks by Rey Torres and Landin, respectively, as the Jays led 2-0 after the first against Central Lakes.
They would add two more in the third as Torres singled and would later score on Landin's squeeze bunt. MW added another run in the inning on an error on a pickoff attempt.
The Jays scored twice more in the sixth as King Blanchette led off with a single and Muriel doubled. Garcia drove in Blanchette with a groundout and Pedro Perez Sanchez hit into a groundout that scored Muriel, giving MW a 6-0 advantage.
On Saturday, Muriel had two hits and stole two bases, while Angel Sanchez Rodriguez had a hit and two RBI against Ridgewater. Luis Hernandez had two hits against Northland on Saturday.
The Bluejays are at Northwestern College (Iowa) on Friday.