Beetles win streak snapped
Beetles 5, Duluth 2
He just might earn the nickname "Spot-start Siwiec." With another excellent outing, Austen Siwiec (Valparaiso) moved to a team-best 4-0 as the Beetles downed the Duluth Huskies 5-2. Kendall Wehrle (Arkansas) took the loss for Duluth, going six innings while allowing four runs on ten hits. Brendan Alvey (Navarro JC) picked up his first save of the year, tossing the final two innings of the game.
Scoring started in the second inning as Alexandria jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Back-to-back doubles by Wes Patterson (UT-Martin) and Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky) led to a run. A wild pitch would bring in another.
In the third, a lead-off double by Vance Albitz (UC-San Diego) led to another Beetles run, as Tim Roberson (FGCU) drove in the first of two runs on the night with a base hit to right field. The Beetles would get their lead-off man on in seven of their eight innings; four of them scored.
Meanwhile, Siwiec was mowing down the Huskies. Through five innings, Siwiec had a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts. _In the sixth, the Huskies spoiled the shutout bid, stringing together three straight singles to plate their first run of the game.
Both teams would exchange runs late, but a double play turned by Langfels at third base thwarted a late surge by Duluth.
The win ensures the Beetles of a .500 record or better in the first half at 17-14.
Mankato 6, Beetles 5
The Beetles won the first eight innings of Sunday night's ballgame in Mankato. Tim Roberson (FGCU) hit his second home run of the season, Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) made a good start, Wes Patterson and Tyler McKendree didn't allow a run in relief, and Alexandria got three RBI from Vance Albitz, including an insurance RBI in the ninth to take a 6-2 lead.
First half playoff hopes were alive and well.
Then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, those hopes were dashed.
Mankato unloaded against Matt Miller (Michigan) who entered the game in a non-save situation, looking to close out the game. But, a pair of singles and two walks to start the frame brought the deficit to three, and one batter later, a two-RBI single brought the score to 6-5.
With runners on first and second and nobody out, Mankato executed a sacrifice bunt to perfection as Miller tried to get the lead runner out at third. With all runners safe, Alexandria was forced to bring the infield in.
The next batter, Xorge Carrillo, rolled a ground ball to Keith Castillo at first, who alertly threw home for a force out. But, Trevor Edwards tried to double off Carrillo at first and threw the ball into right field. Two runs scored on the errant throw, and in stunning fashion, Mankato completed the comeback, winning 6-5.
In the game, the MoonDogs took advantage of two Beetles errors to score four unearned runs. In the two-game series, Mankato scored seven unearned runs and just three earned runs, benefiting from all three Beetles errors on the weekend.
The loss is the second straight for Alexandria after their franchise record seven-game win streak. The win pushed the MoonDogs to the brink of a second-straight first half North Division title. With four days left in the first half, Mankato needs just one more win or one more Rochester loss to claim the title.
Mankato 4, Beetles 0
For the last week, each game has been called a "must win" for the Beetles.
And so far so good. Until Saturday, when the Beetles ran into the division leaders at their home park. Mankato, an outstanding 11-2 at home this season, blanked Alexandria, winning 4-0.
Mitch Handley (North Alabama) suffered his first loss of the year, despite allowing just one earned run in six innings.
The Beetles' offense was unable to put the bat on the ball all evening long. MoonDog starter Zach Whitmore (Georgia Southwestern) fanned nine in just 5.2 innings. The bullpen would strike out six more to finish the game, and the Beetles mustered just three hits on the night and none after the fourth inning.
Mankato scored first, plating a single run in the third inning on a bases loaded sacrifice fly. The Beetles tried to answer in the fourth on a two-out double by Tim Roberson. But, as the top pitching staff cracked down, it would prove to be the last hit of the night.
In the seventh, Mankato took advantage of the only Beetles' error to score three big insurance runs. Ironically, the MoonDogs committed four errors, including two in the eighth inning, but the Beetles were unable to push any runs across, leaving seven runners stranded (four in scoring position) in the game.
Beetles 10, Rochester 6
Chase Porch (North Alabama) continued the streak of great starting pitching on Friday, and the offense exploded for 10 runs as the Beetles won their franchise record seventh consecutive game.
Jeff Burleson (Oral Roberts) took the loss in his Honker debut, lasting just three innings. The right-hander gave up four runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out four.
Tyler McKendree (Flagler) worked the final three innings of the game, earning his second save of the year.
Alexandria took advantage of the first of three Honker errors, plating a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. Keith Castillo (USC) hit the first of two RBI doubles on the night, and Tim Roberson (FGCU) rolled an RBI groundout.
In the third, Roberson came through with another RBI on a sacrifice fly, following another Castillo double, which scored Mikel Alvarez (FGCU).
Alexandria would increase their lead to 5-0 in the fourth on another Honker error, and 6-0 in the fifth on a Diallo Fon double play ball with the bases loaded.
In the sixth, the Honkers home run swings emerged. Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton) launched a solo homer to lead off the inning, and two batters later, Danny Brock (St. Louis) sent one over the center field wall.
But, as the evening would prove, the Beetles had an answer. Roberson took a 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall, a three-run homer to aid the lead to 9-3.
The Beetles would add one more in the eighth on another Honker error, but Rochester had one more comeback in them.
With Tyler McKendree (Flagler) looking to finish the game in his third inning of relief, the Honkers loaded the bases with one out.
But the game appeared to be over as William Arnold (Central Michigan) bounced one back to the mound. But McKendree's toss to second base sailed into centerfield, prolonging the inning.
However, McKendree would settle down, getting the game-ending groundout two batters later.
DULUTH 000 001 001 2-7-3
ALEXANDRIA 021 010 010 5-13-1
PITCHING - Austen Siwiec 7IP-6H-1R-1ER-2B-6SO; Brendan Alvey 2IP-1H-1R-1ER-3BB-1SO.
HITTING - Mikel Alvarez 2-3, 2 rbi; Vance Albitz 2-4, 2 runs; Keith Castillo 1-2, 1bb; Tim Roberson 3-4, 2 rbi; 1 run; Diallo Fon 1 bb; Wade Patterson 1-4, 1 run; Josh Langfels 4-4, 1 run.
ALEXANDRIA 000 030 021 6-11-2
MANKATO 000 020 005 7-6-1
PITCHING - Matt Fyffe 4.2IP-2H-2R-0ER-5BB-3SO; Tyler Mills 0.0IP-0H-0R-0ER-1BB-0SO; Wade Patterson 2IP-1H-0R-0ER-2BB-0S0; Tyler McKendree 1.1IP-0H-0R-0ER-0BB-0SO; Matt Miller, LP, 0.1IP-3H-5R-3ER-2BB-0SO.
HITTING - Harry Austin 2 runs, 2 bb; Mikel Alvarez 3-5, 1 run, 1 rbi; Vance Albitz 2-5, 3 rbi; Keith Castillo 1-5, 1 run; Tim Roberson 2-3, 1 run, 2 rbi, 1 bb; Diallo Fon 3-3, 1 run, 1 bb; Marcus Semien 1 bb.
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 000 0-3-1
MANKATO 001 003 000 4-9-4
PITCHING - Mitch Handley, LP, 6IP-7H-4R-1ER-3BB-4SO; Bryce Uhrig 2IP-2H-0R-0ER-1BB-2SO.
HITTING - Harry Austin 1 bb; Mikel Alvarez 1-3; Keith Castillo 1-4; Tim Roberson 1-4.
ROCHESTER 000 002 103 6-8-3
ALEXANDRIA 202 113 010 10-9-3
PITCHING - Chase Porch, WP, 6IP-4H-2R-2ER-2BB-4SO; Tyler McKendree, S, 3IP-4H-4R-1ER-2BB-1SO.
HITTING - Harry Austin 1-5, 1 run; Mikel Alvarez 2-2, 3 runs, 1 rbi, 3 bb; Vance Albitz 1 run; Marcus Semien 1 rbi; 1 bb; Keith Castillo 2-4, 2 runs, 2 rbi, 1 bb; Tim Roberson 2-4, 2 runs, 5 rbi; Trevor Edwards 1-4; Josh Langfels 1-4, 1 run.