The season opener started promisingly for the Huskies on the road, but it ended in disappointment.
After Duluth jumped out to a 4-0 lead early against the Bismarck Larks, the home team responded with eight unanswered runs to take the 8-4 victory.
In the second inning, the Huskies were the first to crack the scoreboard, with Max Coupe scoring on a wild pitch. Coupe had a strong performance at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a triple.
The visitors were able to capitalize on six wild pitches from Larks starter Carter Rost and reliever Brad Helton in the first four innings.
In the fourth, the Huskies added to their one-run advantage with a three-run frame. After a single from Caleb Corbin and a walk from Joe Vos, a Helton wild pitch put runners at second and third.
Jeremy Keller capitalized on the opportunity with runners in scoring position, ripping a double into the left-center gap that scored Corbin and Vos. Later in the inning, a sac fly by Joshua Duarte extended the Huskies lead to 4-0.
DJ Burke provided three strong scoreless innings in his season debut, allowing just one hit and recording three strikeouts. He looked as good as advertised for the Huskies.
Once Burke exited the game, however, it was all downhill for Duluth. The Larks scored in each of the four subsequent innings. Bismarck brought three across in the fourth, on RBI singles from Brayden Koenig and Kai Hori and a wild pitch by Huskies reliever Ethan Cole.
In the fifth, with runners at first and second and one out in the inning, an errant throw by Huskies third baseman Carson Applegate wiped away a potential double-play opportunity. Dylan Perry scored from second on the play to tie the game, and the inning continued, allowing the Larks to add another run and build more momentum in the game.
After a good start offensively, the Huskies’ bats were quiet in the final five innings of the game. Max Coupe was stranded at third in the 8th after a lead-off triple, but there wasn’t much offense to speak of other than that. Caleb Corbin put up a strong showing in the loss for the Huskies, going 3-for-5 with a run scored.
While the Huskies’ offense sputtered, the Larks continued to add on, scoring three more runs in the sixth and seventh to extend their lead to four, and eventually sealing the 8-4 victory on opening night. In the final five innings, Larks pitching allowed just five hits and no runs to shut the door.
The Huskies will look to bounce back Tuesday in the second game of the series against Bismarck at 6:35 CST with Colin Linder on the bump.
Note: Jordy Fee-Platt is a Duluth Huskies broadcaster
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