Beetles jump to 3-1 start in NWLAlexandria picked up a win over St. Cloud and split with Madison
The Alexandria Beetles wasted no time getting off to a memorable start to the 2009 season.
The Beetles jumped out to a 3-1 record with two wins over St. Cloud and a split against Madison in the season-opening series. Two of those wins came with some dramatics with a walk-off home run and a near no-hitter highlighting what was an exciting week for Alexandria.
Alexandria 4, St. Cloud 2
The weekend may very well have belonged to Jayson Langfels. On Saturday, it was the stealthy first baseman’s glove that saved a one-hit shutout for the Beetles.
On Sunday afternoon, it was the sophomore from Eastern Kentucky that sent the home crowd to a happy exit.
On a 1-1 pitch with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, it took one mighty swing from Langfels to launch the game winner over the right-center field wall – a three-run blast to turn a one-run deficit into the first walk-off winner of the season.
It started as another pitcher’s duel, with Erik Johnson (Cal-Berkely) for the Beetles going against Blake Schwartz (MSU-Mankato). Both pitchers worked four shutout innings to start the game before each gave up a run in the fifth.
The game remained tied into the eighth inning, with Schwartz still going strong and Tyler McKendree pitching well in relief of Johnson. With one out in the eighth, Eric Marzec drilled a double into the right field corner, knocking McKendree out.
Freshman righty from Michigan Kevin Vangheluwe uncorked two wild pitches in relief, plating the go-ahead run. Vangheluwe would settle down, picking up a strikeout and groundout.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, another one-run game loomed. St. Cloud stayed with their late inning reliever Drew Palen, who worked out of a jam in the eighth. But, on the first pitch of the inning, Trevor Edwards (UNC-Greensboro) was hit by a pitch.
Mikel Alvarez (FGCU) drew a pinch-hit walk in the next at-bat. With the tying run 90 feet from home and the winning run at first, Langfels came off the bench to pinch hit for Marcus Semien (Cal), who had gone 0-3 in his debut.
On a 1-1 offering, Langfels took a fastball over the right-center field wall. It was the seventh walk-off home run in team history and the first since Brian Harrison’s pinch-hit walk-off against Brainerd in mid-July 2008.
Alexandria 1, St. Cloud 0
In one of the best pitching performances in Beetles’ team history, Chase Porch (North Alabama) took a no-hitter into the bottom of the eighth inning, while the offense supplied just enough offense to walk away from St. Cloud with a 1-0 win.
Porch, in his Beetles’ debut, dodged a couple River Bats threats, holding St. Cloud’s offense lifeless through seven and 2/3 innings before a five-hopper bounced through the right side of the infield, spoiling the no-hit bid.
Aaron Kurcz (Air Force) picked up his second save in three nights, holding the Bats hitless in the ninth.
The only run of the game came early in the contest. Diallo Fon (Arizona) singled in the second inning, and came around to score on an RBI single by Sean Olenek (Merer).
St. Cloud mounted threats in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings, but ended up stranding nine runners. Porch handed out four walks and also hit two batters in one inning. But, the UNA Junior had everything working, striking out eight in the stellar performance.
Kurcz worked around a leadoff in the ninth, leaving the potential tying run at third base.
Madison 7, Alexandria 6
A late rally fell just short as the Beetles dropped game two of the season opening set against the Madison Mallards last Friday night.
The Beetles trailed by four runs heading into the eighth inning but cut the deficit to just one. Again in the ninth, the Beetles mounted a comeback but came up short.
Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) threw well in his Beetles’ debut. The right-hander went six innings, allowing six hits while walking three and striking out five. Fyffe’s only mistake was a two-run homer given up to Ben Long, which at the time tied the game at two.
Cody Winiarski countered for the Mallards, going five innings, but he left the game trailing 3-2. In the seventh inning, Madison’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position ended as the Mallards scored four to take a 6-3 lead.
Madison added one more in the top of the eighth before the Beetles rallied for three in the bottom half of the inning. That made it a 7-6 game heading into the final inning.
Zach Wentz (NDSU) pitched a perfect ninth inning, leaving the door open for the Alexandria offense.
The inning started promising. Fon led off with his third hit of the night. Trevor Edwards pushed him to second with a sacrifice bunt. After a Brendan Alvey strikeout, KJ Randhawa and Mike O’Neill walked to load the bases against Kevin Cahill. With the tying run at third and the winning run at second, Alverez had a chance to be a hero, but after a lengthy at bat, a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch ended the game.
Alexandria 4, Madison 3
The Beetles sent five pitchers to the hill, combining to scatter nine hits and three runs as Alexandria held on for a 4-3 opening day win over the Mallards last Thursday.
Mitch Handley (North Alabama) got the start for the Beetles, but the usual reliever was on a short leash, and after 71 pitches he was taken out of the game.
Handley went 4 1/3 innings, giving up five hits, four doubles and two earned runs. He walked and struck out four.
The Beetles plated the first run of the game in the second. Matt Alexander and Langfels led off the second inning with base hits, and Fon sacrifice bunted but reached on a wild throw to load the bases.
Mallards’ starter Matt Jansen then issued a free pass and RBI to Olenek. Jansen would settle down, getting Randhawa to bounce into an inning ending double play.
Madison would answer with two runs in the top of fifth, only to give up three in the bottom of the inning.
Tyler McKendree (Flagler) was very impressive in his relief debut for the Beetles. The right-hander went 2 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and one walk, while striking out three.
The Beetles did not score past the fifth inning, but held on for the one-run win. Alvey got the final out of the eighth inning, and Kurcz threw the ninth, earning the save.
ST. CLOUD 000 010 010 – 2 6 2
ALEXANDRIA 000 010 003 – 4 6 0
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Erik Johnson – 5IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 5SO; Tyler McKendree – 2 1/3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 3SO; Kevin Vangheluwe – (W) 1 2/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Mike O’Neill – 0-3, BB, 1 run; KJ Randhawa – 1-4; Tim Roberson – 1-3, BB; Matt Alexander – 1-3, BB; Diallo Fon – 1-4; Sean Olenek – 0-3; Trevor Edwards – 1-3, 1 run; Zach Wentz – 0-2; Mikel Alvarez – BB, 1 run; Marcus Semien – 0-3; Jayson Langfels – 1-1, 1 run, 3 RBI
ALEXANDRIA 010 000 000 – 1 6 2
ST. CLOUD 000 000 000 – 0 1 0
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Chase Porch – (W) 8IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 4BB, 8SO; Aaron Kurcz – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – O’Neill – 0-3, BB; Alvarez – 1-4; Roberson – 1-4; Alexander – 1-4; Fon – 2-4, 1 run; Langfels – 0-4; Olenek – 1-3, RBI; Wes Patterson – 0-3; Randhawa – 0-3
MADISON 000 020 041 – 7 10 1
ALEXANDRIA 011 010 030 – 6 15 0
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Matt Fyffe – 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 5SO; Patterson – (L) 1IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, 1BB, 0SO; Wentz – 2IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – O’Neill – 3-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI, BB; Alvarez – 2-4, RBI, BB; Roberson – 3-4; Alexander – 1-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB; Langfels – 0-5; Fon – 3-5, 1 run; Trevor Edwards – 0-3, 1 run; Brendan Alvey – 1-4, 1 run; Randhawa – 2-3, 1 run, RBI, 2 BB
MADISON 000 021 000 – 3 9 1
ALEXANDRIA 010 030 000 – 4 6 0
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Mitch Handley – 4 1/3IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, 4SO; Austin Siwiec – (W) 3 1/3IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 3SO; Alvey – 1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO; Kurcz – 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 2SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – O’Neill – 0-3; Alvarez – 1-4, 1 run, RBI; Roberson – 0-4; Alexander – 2-4, 1 run, RBI; Langfels – 2-4, 1 run, RBI; Fon – 0-3, BB; Porch – 0-4; Olenek – 1-2, RBI, BB; Randhawa – 0-2, 1 run, BB