Pirates down Expos for first win
It was good to be home. Keegan O’Brien drove in four runs with two doubles and Zach Schonrock went the distance on the mound to lead the Blue Earth Pirates to a 6-4 win over the Eagle Lake Expos in their 2020 home opener. It was the Pirates’ first victory of the season.
The teams met in the first game of a three-team triple header at Veterans Field in Blue Earth on June 14. All of the games were scheduled to be seven inning contests.
Eagle Lake got on the board first in the top of the third inning. Their leadoff batter singled, took second on a delayed steal and moved to third on an infield out. He later scored on an infield single to put the Expos on top 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning.
Designated hitter Lee Hodges opened the home half of the third inning for the Pirates by reaching first base on an error by the shortstop. Hunter Bleess earned a walk and Tanner Nawrocki laid down a bunt single to load the bases.
Right fielder O’Brien stepped to the plate and lofted a fly ball over the left fielder’s head for a double which allowed Hodges and Bleess to cross home plate with the Pirate’s first two runs of the game.
After a strike out, TJ Schmidtke drove in Nawrocki and O’Brien with a two-base hit to put the Pirates on top 4-1 after three complete innings.
Schonrock sailed through the next three innings retiring the Expos in order.
The Pirates scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bleess got on base with a two-out single and Nawrocki drew a walk to bring O’Brien to the plate. With two outs the runners were off with the crack of the bat and scored easily when O’Brien stroked another double to increase Blue Earth’s lead to 6-1.
Things got interesting in the top of the seventh inning. The Expos took advantage of two Pirate miscues to score three runs and pull within two of the home team at 6-4. Eagle Lake had the tying run at second base but Schonrock got the final out of the game with a strike out to preserve the two-run victory for Blue Earth.
“My curve ball was working well today so I went with it,” Shonrock said. “I threw very few knuckleballs today and mixed in some fastballs.”
The final tally showed the Expos with four runs on six hits with one error. The Pirates had six runs on five hits and two errors.
The second game of the day featured the Expos taking on the St. Clair Wood Ducks. St. Clair won 15-6.
In the final game of the day Blue Earth played host to St. Clair.
The Wood Ducks outhit the Pirates 10-4 on their way to a 12-2 victory.
St. Clair scored one run in the top of the first inning to go up 1-0.
Blue Earth tied it in the bottom of the first. In his first trip to the plate this season, TJ Stallman walked and eventually worked his way to third base. An infield ground out by Garrett Anderson drove home Stallman to tie the game 1-1.
The Wood Ducks added four more runs in the top of the second inning to take a 5-1 lead.
The Pirates got one run back in the bottom of the second when Hunter Bleess scored on a RBI single by Keegan O’Brien.
That was all of the runs Blue Earth could muster for the game.
Meanwhile, St. Clair scored in every inning but the third to go home with the 12-2 victory.