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Baseball kicks off conference play strong

The MVNU baseball team (19-10, 5-2) is back on the field after a week of postponed games because of the weather.

The Cougars swept a three-game series against the University of Saint Francis over the weekend, then split a pair of games with Marian University yesterday afternoon.

Marian came out strong in game one with two runs in the first inning but MVNU cut the score in half when senior Jaime Montero scored on an RBI from sophomore Drew Ritchey.

But junior Zach St. Pierre homered for Marian in the sixth inning, sealing the victory for the Knights.

“You can never stop improving in any aspect of the game,” said junior Jesse Staudt. “I would say defensively is where we need to improve the most. In close games, errors are usually the difference between a win and a loss.”

MVNU returned to the field for the second game with momentum and power earning an 11-1 victory over Marian.

The Cougars finished the first inning with four runs on four hits, tacking on two more in the second.

In the seventh inning the Cougars brought home five runners, ending the game early because of the 10-run rule.

Marian scored its only run in the second.

Freshman Mark Rader earned the win for the Cougars allowing seven hits and one run in his seven innings pitched. Rader struck out one batter.

The Cougars won decisively (9-5, 10-0, 12-4) in all three games at Saint Francis. The first two games were played on Friday, with the third game Saturday afternoon.

In Saturday’s game, Bryce Arledge started on the mound for MVNU and pitched eight innings.

“Bryce threw a great game,” said senior outfielder Corey Gould. All of the pitchers “have been throwing well all year.”

Arledge gave up only seven hits and struck out four batters.

MVNU had an excellent offensive game scoring 12 runs off of 14 hits at the plate.

Senior Corey Gould and sophomore Aaron Saal each picked up a double for the Cougars while freshman Kobe Miller hit a triple.

Staudt finished the series with a two-run homer to seal the deal for MVNU.

“We hit the ball very well on Saturday and we came ready to go right from the start,” said Staudt. “When you can jump out to an early lead like we were able to it makes it tough on opponents to come back.”

As the Cougars prepare for another home double-header today, they aim for confidence in themselves and one another.

As a team the Cougars hope to “play at the highest level no matter who shows up in the other dugout,” said senior Jacob Chrysler. “We have to play together from start to finish and play every pitch with total confidence in ourselves and each other.”

The Cougars are back on the field today against Cincinnati-Clermont. The first pitch is at 1 p.m. with the second to follow.

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