ARDEN HILLS, Minn. — Ray Yong (Sr./Elmhurst, Ill./York) smacked two home runs in game one and collected six RBI on the day, but the Carleton College baseball team dropped both ends of a twinbill at Bethel University, falling 12-7 and 5-3.
Yong got the Knights (9-7, 3-3 MIAC) going early in a back-and-forth opener, belting a first-inning, two-run homer down the right-field line. After Bethel (12-5, 5-1 MIAC) scored three times in the second, Yong took Royals’ starter Matt Herring deep again, his fourth roundtripper of the week. Yong’s two-run shot highlighted a three-run frame that gave Carleton a brief 5-3 lead.
Yong became the first Knight to hit two home runs in the same game since Russ Fujisawa on May 6, 2008 versus Minnesota-Morris.
The hosts responded in the bottom of the stanza with a two-run home run of their own, knotting the score at 5-5 before tacking on five more tallies an inning later. Carleton got two of those runs back in the sixth on a David Stillerman (Sr./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) single and a heads up baserunning play by Jeff Dsida (Sr./Winnetka, Ill./New Trier).
Yong batted with runners on second and third and one out. He popped the ball up into foul territory, and Bethel third baseman Logan Lisle made a fantastic catch in foul territory in front of his team’s dugout. But Royal catcher Mike Schultz had also come over to attempt a catch, leaving home plate uncovered. Dsida recognized this and sprinted for home. Schultz raced back to the plate in an attempt to prevent the run and received a throw from Lisle but Dsida avoided the tag and scored on what became a 50-foot sacrifice fly.
Unfortunately, that gutsy play did not yield any additional momentum for the Knights, and Bethel added two more tallies in the bottom of the inning to put the game out of reach.
The story of game two was a series of missed opportunities for the Knights, who left a total of 11 runners on base, nine of them in scoring position including wasting bases-loaded situations in the first and fourth innings.
Bethel meanwhile got a pair of two-out run-scoring hits in the third inning and took advantage of a throwing error to add two more in the sixth.
Stillerman was 4-for-5 in the nightcap and plated Carleton’s first run with a RBI groundout in the seventh. He was in the middle of a ninth-inning rally as his one-out single was his sixth hit of the doubleheader and put runners on the corners. Hayden Tsutsui (So./Northridge, Calif./Chatsworth) followed with a RBI single to left field. With the tying run now at the plate, Bethel reliever Tyler Hietma closed the game with a pair of groundouts.
Nolan Baker (Jr./Appleton, Wis./Appleton North) absorbed the loss after allowing three earned runs over his 7.0 frames of work.
The Knights will look to bounce back on Sunday, April 13 when they host Augsburg College for a 1 p.m doubleheader.