By Jon Willis
Duluth used a big 5-run inning in the top of the 8th inning to come back and survive, winning 13-11 in an instant classic to split the series in Canada in Thunder Bay.
Once again, the Huskies got ahead early, leading 5-0 heading into the bottom of the 3rd. Brandon Compton got the party started in the top of the 1st with a RBI single, and Calyn Halvorson knocked in a run on a groundout. Halvorson added another run in the top of the 3rd on a double to score Compton, with 2 more runs scoring unearned off of some Thunder Bay errors.
The Huskies would once again quickly give up the lead though, with two runs scoring in the bottom of the 3rd off of a Duluth error. For the second straight game, the Border Cats would have a big 4th inning, scoring 6 in the half inning to give Thunder Bay an 8-5 lead. After a quality first three innings, Preston Tenney gave up some hits and walks that resulted in the big inning, and he would be replaced by David Stitch in the 4th.
The Huskies continued to fight, down 3, with an Evan Borst RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Max Coupe to put two on the board in the top of the 6th and cut the lead to 1. However, Thunder Bay was back with an answer once again, adding a run in the 7th to carry a 9-7 lead into the 8th inning.
The 8th inning would be where everything would change. Halvorson things started in the 8th with a huge two RBI double that tied the game at 9. After a walk to Caleb Corbin, who returned after missing a couple straight games, Michael Hallquist would step up to the plate. On the first pitch he saw, Hallquist crushed a ball to deep left field for his 3rd home run of the season to give the Huskies a 12-9 lead in the 8th.
Duluth added some insurance in the 9th with Evan Borst scoring on a wild pitch in the 9th, and it would prove to be big. After a quality 1.2 innings from Austin Humphres, who also struck out 4 batters, Humphres allowed two runs in the bottom of the 9th, which would bring in closer Eli Sundquist. Sundquist would come in and get the job done, striking out the one batter he saw, and getting his 4th save in 4 tries this year.
Taiga Yamane would earn the win for the Huskies, going two innings in the 6th and the 7th, only allowing 1 run. Halvorson went 2-5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI, with Hallquist going 3-5 with 1 home run and 4 RBI as well. The Huskies improved to 5-5, and currently stand at 2nd in the Great Plains East.
Duluth will take on 3-7 La Crosse tomorrow to kick off an important 4 game home stand against a couple divisional opponents. First pitch is set for 5:05 PM CST.