Entering play Saturday, the Yellowjackets had lost 11 of their last 13 games, including six in a row. In that time, the offense has struggled to find its stride, having produced just nine runs in those six losses.
Saturday afternoon and evening, things finally came together, and Superior reaped the benefits, winning both ends of a road doubleheader at Minnesota Morris. The Yellowjackets took the opener 6-3 before winning the nightcap 17-11.
The ‘Jackets found themselves down 2-0 early, cutting the deficit in half in the top of the second with a Christian Garcia (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs) solo homerun. The Yellowjackets drew even in the fourth with a two out rally. Mike Rodriguez (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) singled to center, driving in Alex Aguilar (Simi Valley, Calif./Westlake) from second.
The Yellowjackets then took the lead in the top of the fifth with Ryan Castaneda (San Pedro, Calif./Junipero Serra) bringing home Brandon Rolf (Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater Area) on a sacrifice fly. Later in the inning Bryce Flanagan (Brainerd, Minn./Brainerd) scored on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 4-2.
In the sixth, Rolf doubled home Rodriguez, bringing the lead up to 5-2. Morris would pull that run back in the sixth, trimming the lead to two until the ninth. The ‘Jackets got another run in the ninth on a Garcia single.
Ryan Rodriguez (Chaska, Minn./Chaska) got the start on the mound and got the win, improving to 3-4 on the year. He allowed three runs on 10 hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out four before giving way to Matt Tappe (St. Anthony, Minn./St. Anthony Village), who finished things off to earn his second save of the season.
The Yellowjackets came out swinging in game two, as Rolf quickly doubled and stole third with one out in the first. He scored on a Morris error, giving the ‘Jackets a 1-0 lead to start the game. Morris quickly took the lead, scoring twice in the bottom of the first.
Sam McNosky (Minneapolis, Minn./DeLaSalle) got a big second inning started with a one-out single. Rodriguez followed with another single and Nick Fredrikson (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Anthony Village) walked to load the bases. Rolf cleared the bases, stroking a double to right and putting the Yellowjackets back in front. Flanagan drove Rolf in with a triple and later scored on a sac fly, bringing the lead to 6-2.
Isaac Fugere (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East) reached on a wild pitch after striking out, and McNosky reached after being hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and then scored on a Rodriguez double. Rodriguez came across to score later in the inning, bringing the score to 9-2 in the third.
By the fifth, the lead remained seven runs, but the score was now 12-5. That all changed when Nick Zezulka (St. Anthony, Minn./St. Anthony Village) launched a three-run home run to left, making it a 15-5 game.
Morris did not back off, eventually trimming the score to 15-9. Zezulka led off the eighth with a single and Rolf reached on an error. Flanagan drove in Zezulka and Rolf scored on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 17-9. Morris loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Tappe came on and held the Cougars to just one run as he closed the game out.
Elliott Danhoff got the start and went four innings, allowing five runs on four hits to go along with seven walks and seven strikeouts. Dante Bender (Gurney, Wis./Hurley) came on in relief and provided two scoreless innings to earn the win, improving to 2-0 on the year.
Next up for the Yellowjackets is a road doubleheader with St. Scholastica this afternoon. First pitch from Wade Stadium in Duluth is set for 1:30 p.m.