MANKATO — After its own rough fielding performance and a late-inning rally by Sleepy Eye, the Mankato Loyola baseball team dropped its first game of the season on Friday, falling 8-7 in a nonconference game at Franklin Rogers Park.
Four different pitchers walked seven Sleepy Eye hitters, and the Crusaders amounted four errors, which proved costly in the big innings.
“We made a couple mistakes and it’s tough to win games when you’re giving out that many free passes,” Loyola coach John Landkamer said. “They did a good job of taking advantage of that. Pitching and defense is the name of the game, and we’ll get back to that, but it was just one of those days.”
It was a tale of two games for both the Crusaders and the Indians.
Loyola took the first portion of the game in stride while struggling through the other. The Crusaders scored six runs in the first two innings. Senior Shane Sellner’s first-inning double high off the fence in left center brought in two runs, and Will Cipos knocked him in with an RBI groundout to make it 3-0.
Sleepy Eye answered back with three of their own in the second inning, which Loyola echoed in the scoring column with three more in the second. The Indians added two more in the top of the third, where the scoring ceased until the top of the sixth and the game at a 6-5 pace.
From there, Sleepy Eye took over, leading off the sixth inning with a single and a walk against Cipos, the Loyola reliever. Cipos allowed another runner off an error that brought in the tying run, before Brodie Martinka entered the game for one batter, whom he walked, setting up another pitching change with senior Mark Korteum taking the mound.