MORRIS, Minn. --- In what could be the biggest comeback in program history, the Sabercats rallied from a 2-11 deficit to take a 12-11 win in the seventh inning of the final game of their series with Minnesota-Morris. This moved the series score to 1-2, as Morris took home an 8-11 win in the first game of the day.
With the split doubleheader, the Sabercats move to 1-8 on the season while the Cougars now stand at 5-11.
In game one, the Cougars jumped out to an early lead and looked to be repeating their 7-0 win from yesterday. Six runs in the first inning were a sign of things to come for the hosts, who capitalized on two Sabercat errors and boasted hard-hitting bats. (0-6)
The Sabercats allowed the Cougars to post a pair of runs in the second inning before replying with three runs in the third. Wes Wagner did a lion's share of the work by driving in three runs with a double to center. (3-8)
Morris refused to be rattled, however, and added another couple of runs in the bottom half of the inning. UMM's Donnie Mavenkamp smacked a triple to deep center field to bring in the second run. (3-10)
Ultimately, the Sabercats went down swinging in the first game, as they showed resilience to register three runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth. Jordan Garrison brought two runners home with an RBI single in the fifth, and Dennis Reinhardt (single), Elijah May (sac. fly), and Wes Wagner (double) all drove in runs in the two-inning stretch. Adam Courtney singled to right field to try to jump-start a rally in the seventh, but the Sabercats could not produce what was needed at the plate. (8-11)
Jordan Garrison took the loss in game one, and Joey Hyde earned the win for Morris.
In game two, it was level pegging through the first three innings, as each team added two runs in the third inning. Caleb Courtney logged an RBI single as the Sabercats took partial advantage of a three-hit inning. (2-2)
While Morris extended their lead out to nine, the Sabercats were left hitless by a hard-working Lucas Luedtke, who went five innings on the day.
Then in the seventh, the rally happened.
A Cougar miscue with the bases jammed helped to extend the rally, as Wes Wagner came home on a throwing error. The Sabercats still had hope, as they had the bases packed with just one out on the scoreboard. Rookie Caleb Huthmaker then made good on Gary Garrison's pinch-hitting decision. Huthmaker singled through the right side with the bases loaded to make the momentum seemingly inexorable for MBU. (9-11)
Caleb Courtney then had his second at-bat of the inning, and proved his reliability at the plate with a single to left field which brought home his brother Adam, and - after a throwing error from UMM - Micah Shepard, who was at second base to start the at-bat. Just like that, the Sabercats had tied the game and had the win within arm's reach. (11-11)
Fittingly, it was Smith who recorded the final RBI, as the sophomore did what was needed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Huthmaker. After a riveting seven-hit, 10-run inning, the Sabercats had completed the most remarkable of comebacks, but still had to rely on the work of Caleb Courtney and Micah Shepard to close the heroic stand. (12-11)
The duo finished the job, but the Cougars gave MBU a small scare by putting two men on base. Caleb Courtney retired two batters, then Micah Shepard went to the mound and got the out to retire the Cougars for the last time. The Sabercats had successfully sealed out a 10-run comeback.
The Sabercats will debut on their home field on Tuesday, April 4 against Wisconsin Lutheran College (weather permitting). You can find a link to live statistics and final information for the game at mbusabercats.com.