SAU Muleriders Baseball Faces Elimination Game Today

Courtesy SAU Muleriders Athletics Department


MANKATO, Minn. – A tremendous pitcher’s duel through the first eight and a half innings would end with a heartbreaking loss for the Southern Arkansas University Muleriders baseball team as they fell to St. Cloud State by a score of 2-1 on Friday night at Franklin Rogers Park.

In the game, the SAU Muleriders baseball team(41-16) took an early 1-0 lead when they scored an unearned run in the top of the second inning. That initial run was manufactured by the Muleriders with two outs as Ryan Bell was able to reach first base on an error by the first baseman. After a steal of second base, Bell would come around to score when William Townsend singled to right field.

In the innings to follow, the SAU Muleriders were able to put runners on base, but the Huskies’ (36-9) starter Kyle Fischer would not allow another run as he stranded nine Mulerider base runners over innings three-through-eight.

As Fischer (11-2) was pitching well and holding the Muleriders’ lineup off the scoreboard, SAU’s starter Jon Mark Abbey was doing much of the same as the two were locked in a classic pitcher’s duel.

After holding the Huskies scoreless through the first four innings, Abbey (8-3) would give up the game-tying run in the bottom of the fifth inning. In that inning, the Huskies collected consecutive singles to start the inning and then got a walk in the next at-bat to load the bases with no outs. Abbey, facing a tight jam, would minimize the threat as he induced a 6-4-3 double play and a ground out to escape the inning. The double play ball, however, did allow the tying run to score.

From there, the two teams would remain grid-locked at one-all until the ninth inning.

Facing the middle of the Mulerider lineup in the top of the ninth, Fischer would get an inning-ending double play to set the stage for the eventual walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth.

In that frame, closer Justin Thomas, who came on in relief and got out of a two-out bases loaded jam in the eighth, started the inning on the mound for the Muleriders. A leadoff walk put the potential game-winning run on first base. After a successful sacrifice bunt, Thomas would intentionally walk the next batter to set up a double play. In the ensuing at-bat, Thomas would collect a needed strikeout to get the second out of the inning.

A batter later, Phil Imholte served a single to right field and Brandon Arnold, who pinch ran following the leadoff walk, came around to score the winning run on a close play at the plate.

The SAU Muleriders baseball team will now have to work out of the loser’s bracket as they will play Central Missouri in an elimination game on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

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