Baseball at U.S. Bank: Owatonna downs Mankato East at U.S. Bank Stadium
Minneapolis- After dropping the last two games by wide margins, the Owatonna baseball team was off to U.S. Bank Stadium to compete in a nonconference tilt with Mankato East.
An argument could be made that the change of venue sparked the Huskies. Although, the correct argument may be that their ace was on the mound.
Having a no-hit bid until the middle of the fourth inning, Owatonna senior Kodey Kiel allowed just four hits as the Huskies capitalized on defensive mistakes by the Cougars to win 3-0 Friday night.
“It’s a neat envoirment,” commented Huskies head coach Tate Cummings. “It’s a cool experience for our kids and that’s why we’re doing these things and I think they enjoyed it.”
In second start of the season, Kiel was dominant on the mound. While he registered just two strikeouts, he managed to force Cougars hitter into easy outs. Kiel went the distance for Owatonna and kept his ERA at a perfect 0.0 for the year. In fact, through his seven innings of work, the fifth inning was the lone outing where the ace faced more than four batters. Even more impressive, the Cougars were limited to just two runners in scoring position.
“We were looking at him getting a lot of leads coming in with Kiel late because of the pitch count. So that played a little factor as to why we haven’t started him until game four today,” Cummings added. “But clearly, he’s had our best stuff.”
He also had a great defensive effort behind him. Through four innings, the Huskies accounted for just one error while managing to accumulate five outs via fly balls.
One fly ball in particular, gave the indication of just what type of defense Kiel was provided with.
After Mankato East’s Jack Clifford hit a long fly ball to centerfield, Owatonna Zach Mensink quickly caught it and fired a laser to third baseman Abe Havelka, who was able to apply the tag to Alex Turner to end the third inning.
While the gloves were like fly traps for Owatonna, Mankato East gloves appeared to have a few holes in them. Despite registering three official hits, Owatonna managed to take advantage of Cougars errors. In the top of the third, Tucker Alstead reached after a fielding error in left field.
Kiel would make the Cougars regret the defensive hiccup, belting a RBI triple to give the Huskies the first lead of the game. After Kiel scored on a fielder’s choice, Havelka reached on a throwing error. Of four errors committed by Mankato East, three came in Owatonna’s two-run inning.
Havelka would also add the game’s final run on the game after a fielder’s choice scored Spencer Glynn. Owatonna was in position to add to their lead, leaving runners in scoring position two separate times.
The Huskies move to 2-2 on the year and will play Mankato West Tuesday.
Mankato East 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4
Owatonna 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 3 3
WP: Kiel (2-0), 7 IP, ER 0, ERA 0.0
Kiel 1-4 (RBI, 2ROE), Budach 0-3 (RBI), Havelka 0-3 (ROE), Mensink 0-2, Deason 1-3, Staska 0-3, Schuster 0-3, Hanson 1-3, Alstead 0-3 (ROE)