Baseball players begin season in NFL stadium

John Paul Czerwinski, Assistant Sports Editor

Growing up, every baseball player’s dream is to take the field at a professional stadium. Although they aren’t in the big leagues yet, that’s exactly what the Warhawk baseball players did on March 9 and March 10 as the team had a pair of doubleheaders against St. Thomas University and Concordia-Moorhead  at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The brand new stadium, and new home of the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Gophers baseball team, really seemed to have a lasting effect on
the  Warhawks

“March 9 and 10 were circled on my calendar ever since I heard we had the chance to play at that stadium,” senior shortstop Jordan Kuczynski said. “The stadium itself was absolutely incredible, I couldn’t believe how beautiful
it was.”

The ‘Hawks swept St. Thomas winning the first game 5-2, and winning the second 10-1. Senior Austin Jones started the season opener pitching 5 ⅔ innings giving up two earned runs. Senior Weston Wuethrich pitched the second game going five innings with nine strikeouts, giving up one earned run.

Other Warhawk standouts for the first doubleheader were junior outfielder Well Helbing and sophomore infielder Cal Aldridge. Helbing went 1-4 driving in two runs. Cal Aldridge went 2-2 for two in the first game driving in two runs.

The ’Hawks lost the first of the two games to Concordia-Moorhead, 2-1, while winning the second contest 3-2.

Senior Ankur Shah was on the hill for the ’Hawks in the first contest. Shah went six innings with six strikeouts giving up only one earned run. Shah received a no decision in the ’Hawks loss. Junior Heath Renz pitched the second contest. Renz went seven innings with four strikeouts and gave up zero earned runs.

“I feel as though our pitching is one of the strongest parts of our team,” Shah said. “I feel as though I pitched well, even though the run that scored was a hit by pitch which is inexcusable. But if i can continue to pitch six innings and only give up one earned run, that will turn into a lot of wins for the team this season. I’m excited as to how my first start went, as well as all the other starters.”

Top contributors for the ’Hawks through four games included Kuczynski, junior outfielder Brett Krause and junior infielder
Blake Fleischmann.

Kuczynski is batting .500 after the weekend, going 4-8 at the plate. Krause led the team in RBI’s driving in five, as well as going 4-9 at the plate. Fleischmann went 4-11 with a double and two RBI’s on the weekend.

Although there were a lot of hitting standouts this weekend, the pitching was the focal point for the ’Hawks. The ’Hawks starting rotation didn’t give up more than two runs in any of their outings. The position players appreciated these dominating performances.

“Our pitching this weekend was incredible,” Kuczynski said. “All four starters were lights out and gave us a great chance to win each game. With our talent at the plate, it’s important for the pitchers to set the tone and make the opposing batters uncomfortable.”

The Warhawks next take the diamond on March 16 as they participate in the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational. The Hawks’ start off the tournament against William Paterson of New Jersey in Auburndale, Florida.