Saints win 17th straight UMAC title

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St. Scholastica has a 20 game win streak as they head into the NCAA D-III playoffs.
St. Scholastica photo by Ryan Coleman

ST. PAUL ( – The St. Scholastica baseball team made it 17 straight Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Tournament championships with a 14-4 take down of the University of Northwestern in seven innings Saturday at Hargis Park on the campus of Bethel University.

Northwestern made its third straight UMAC Tournament championship game after defeating Bethany Lutheran College 4-3 in the morning to send the Vikings home.

The Eagles got off to a great start against the Saints in the top of the first. The Eagles put together four hits on four runs to make it 4-0.

The Saints got two of those runs back in the bottom of the first. An Eagle error, followed by a Tyler Duex (Bloomer, Wis./Chippewa Falls HS (UW-Superior) ) double made it 4-1. Parker Olson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East HS (Minn.-Duluth)) followed with a RBI single, driving in Duex to make it 4-2.

In the top of the second, the Eagles had runners at second and third with two outs, but Austin Colvard (Little Canada, Minn./Roseville HS) kept the Eagles off the board with a great diving catch in left as the score remained 4-2.

The score remained 4-2 until the bottom of the fourth when Jesse Heaton (Heyworth, Ill./Bloomington Central Catholic HS ) hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Jake Kuschke (Mahtomedi, Minn./Mahtomedi HS ) and cut the Northwestern margin to 4-3. Another Eagle error in that inning aided the Saints.

Northwestern loaded the bases in the fifth and the Saints went to the bullpen with Daniel Wood (Canyon, Minn./South Ridge HS ). Wood came in and recorded the strikeout to end the inning and get out of the jam.

After that, the flood gates opened in the bottom of the fifth. It would be two Northwestern errors in the inning that would prove costly. With the bases loaded, Tyler Henderson (Chisago Lakes, Minn./Chisago Lakes HS) ripped a single down the left field line to tie the game at 4-4. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Brian Minks (St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud Cathedral HS ) had an infield RBI single to give CSS its first lead at 5-4. Heaton was then hit by a pitch and Bret Moody (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo HS) drew a walk to force in two more runs. Colvard and Trevor Bernsdorf (Meadowlands, Minn./Floodwood HS (Doane) ) each had two-RBI single later in the inning make it 11-4 Saints after five. Seven of the eight runs were unearned.

With the score still 11-4 in the seventh, the Saints ended the game early by the 10-run mercy rule. Henderson and Olson had RBI singles in the inning and then Mike Policano (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury HS ) scored the final run off of a Northwestern error to make the final 14-4 in seven innings.

The Eagles committed six errors in the game and only three of the 14 St. Scholastica runs were earned.

Wood pitched two innings in relief to earn the victory. Colvard, Duex, Henderson, Olson and Minks all had a pair of hits for the Saints.

St. Scholastica has now won 20 games in a row and has reached the 30-win mark for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons. CSS moves on to its 10th straight NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Saints (30-10) will find out who and where they will play when the NCAA Tournament field and regional play is announced late Sunday night, early Monday morning on Regional play begins on Wednesday.