Despite 4-2 Win over Waterloo, Huskies Eliminated from Playoff Contention
Duluth, Minn - The Huskies came into tonight's game needing to win out the rest of the regular season and get some help from the Express and the Loggers to make the playoffs. If the Huskies lost tonight or if Eau Claire won tonight, Duluth would be officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Keaton Carattini was Marcus Pointer's choice to start the crucial game two. In his last two starts, Carattini has given up two runs on five hits, walked five and struck out 14. He would face the incoming sophomore from UCLA Daniel Colwell, who made his first appearance of the season against Duluth tonight.
Carattini worked through a clean first inning after striking out two but caught trouble in the 2nd when Kyler Arenado walked to lead off the inning and Ethan Copeland doubled to put men in scoring position with no outs. Then the next batter Kevin Blum reached base on an error to load the bags.
Morgan Hostetler brought in Waterloo's first run afterward when he drew a full-count walk, and even though the next batter Reid Conlee grounded into a double play, Ethan Copeland was able to cross home during the play to grab a two-run lead for the Bucks.
But the Huskies came back to score their first run of the game in the bottom half on Danny Zimmerman's sac fly that scored Maz Guzman to make it 2-1.
Carattini and Colwell calmed down a bit after that as nobody was able to score and only two combined hits were logged over the next three innings. Waterloo remained in front 2-1 as the 6th frame got underway.
Carattini was able to throw another scoreless inning and end his night at 100 pitches even. He gave up two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out 10 Bucks over 6 innings, his longest outing this season. Erik Kaiser came in to relive him. His previous longest before tonight was on July 29th against Waterloo when he tossed four innings and averaged two strikeouts per inning.
While Daniel Colwell didn't have the strikeout numbers that Carattini had, he worked quickly and efficiently. The southpaw worked to contact and did it well; limiting the Huskies to just one hit through the first six innings.
Nico Lima sparked a little post-7th inning stretch rally with a double into the right-center for the Huskies' 2nd hit of the ballgame and was followed up by Danny Zimmerman's single into right field that put runners on the corners with no outs. Collin Hopkins was able to drive a 2-2 fastball into centerfield that was deep enough for Lima to tag up on and score to tie it up at 2-2.
And after issuing a four-pitch walk to Noah Marcelo, Waterloo's best reliever Jimmy Smiley came in to replace Colwell on the mound. Colwell pitched 6.2 solid innings in which he allowed two runs on three hits, and struck out a pair of Huskies.
But after Marcelo swiped 2nd base, Joey Zwak came up big with a two-run single to give the Huskies a 4-2 lead with two innings remaining.
After Kaiser's first inning went well, he struggled with his control which led to the bases being loaded for Ethan Copeland. Bennett Hostetler scored Waterloo's 3rd run when Marcelo bobbled a groundball at 2nd base and no out was made. Kaiser rebounded to get a huge 2nd out on Kevin Blum and induced a flyout to Justin Moore in left field for the 3rd out.
Cole Milam got the save opportunity for the top of the 9th in his first appearance this season as a closer. After a two-out ground-rule double from Patrick Ferguson, the final out came when Ferguson got into a rundown between 3rd and home and was tagged out by Collin Hopkins.
But with Eau Claire's 6-3 win over Bismarck tonight, the Huskies were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
The Huskies begin their last regular-season series tomorrow against the Willmar Stingers. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm with live game coverage on 92.1 The Fan and twinportssportshub.com beginning at 6:55 pm. All Duluth Huskies and Northwoods League games are live streamed online at portal.stretchlive.com/nwl to watch.
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