MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.-- North Central was on the losing end of two tight scorelines on Saturday afternoon at Wintercrest Park. The Rams dropped a 4-2 and 11-9 pair of games to Crown College to keep the Rams searching for their first Upper Midwest Athletic Conference victory of the year.
The Rams and Crown College (St. Bonifacius, Minn.) played four scoreless innings before the Storm took a 1-0 lead through five and posted two more the next inning to earn a 3-0 advantage after six.
North Central would get one back in the bottom of the seventh after freshman Jordan Hemmesch (Richmond, Minn./Rocori) singled to left, stole second and freshman Joey Brady (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville) recorded an infield hit. An error by the short stop allowed Hemmesch to score on the play to make it 3-1.
Crown responded with a run in the top of the eighth but the Rams got that run back in their part of the inning. Sophomore Cody Van Sickle (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) reached on an error and sophomore Will Rosevear (Canton, Mich./Homeschool) walked to give the Rams runners at first and second with no outs. Freshman Taylor Madrinich (West Bend, Wis./West Bend) then singled to center to score Van Sickle to make it 4-2.
The visitors did not score in the ninth but they ended up not needing any further offense, sending the Rams to their 12th straight loss to start the season. Jordan Hemmesch was 2-4 on the day with a stolen base. Cody Van Sickle was 1-4 at the plate and pitched all nine innings allowing just two earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
Game two featured more runs but the same eventual outcome. The Storm built a 3-0 lead through 2.5 innings before NCU posted three in the bottom of the third to tie it up. Freshman David Babcock (Fresno, Calif./Buchanan) lead off with an infield hit, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Hemmesch. Cody Van Sickle knocked in Babcock with a single to center. Van Sickle stole second and moved to third on a single to left by Taylor Madrinich. Will Rosevear then drove in Van Sickle with an RBI double to center that moved Madrinich to third. Freshman Matthew Treadwell (Dickinson, Texas/Bay Area) then singled to score Madrinich to make it 3-3.
Crown answered back by grabbing three in the fourth and one in the sixth to make it 7-3 before NCU was able to respond in the bottom of that inning. David Babcock drew a two-out walk and stole second. Jordan Hemmesch then recorded an infield hit that moved Babcock to third and an error by the short stop allowed Hemmesch to advance and Babcock scored. Cody Van Sickle then singled to score Hemmesch from second and get NCU to within 7-5.
NCU allowed Crown another pair of runs in the seventh to make it 9-5 before they got two more of their own in the bottom of the inning. Will Rosevear lead off with a walk and moved up on a fielders choice. Joey Brady then reached on an infield hit to move Rosevear to second. Freshman Caleb Wyre then reached on an error to load the bases for freshman Sidney Grimmett (Beebe, Ark./Beebe) Grimmett reached on a fielders choice that scored Treadwell from third and moved Brady to the corner. David Babcock then singled throw the left side to score Joey Brady and get NCU to within 9-7 after seven.
Crown went down in order in the eighth before the Rams went to work to tie the game in their half. Van Sickle led off by reaching on an error and moved to second on single to center by Taylor Madrinich. A ground out moved the runners up a spot for Matthew Treadwell who singled to center to drive in both runners and tie the game at 9-9.
Just as it seemed the Rams had momentum an error and a two-out single allowed a pair of unearned runs to push Crown back in front 11-9. NCU did not have an answer in their final at bat and the Storm earned a season sweep of the Rams.
Matthew Treadwell was 3-6 on the day with three RBI. Cody Van Sickle was 3-6 with 2 RBI and a stolen base while Taylor Madrinich was also 3-6. David Babcock was 2-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases while Will Rosevear was 1-4 with a double and an RBI. Jordan Hemmesch was 2-4 with a stolen base.
North Central will be back in action on Tuesday with their final non-conference game of the year. The Rams will travel across town for a double-header with Macalester College (St. Paul, Minn.) scheduled for a 3 p.m. first pitch.