MORRIS, Minn. – Connor Spindler’s two-out, bases-loaded single in the ninth inning gave the Cougars a 7-6 walk-off win in the home-opener Wednesday against Valley City State at the Cougar Diamond.
In the ninth, Jackson Gessell and Evan Ellingworth each singled with one out. After a line out, Blaise Fairbanks worked the count full and then drew a walk to load the bases for Spindler. The game was either going to go to extra innings or end with Spindler’s at-bat and the sophomore infielder made sure the Cougar fans would go home happy. He drilled a shot up the middle to plate Gessell for the winning run.
The Cougars needed to make a comeback to get to the deciding ninth inning. They trailed 5-1 after five innings before scoring five in the sixth to take the lead. Lucas Luedtke and Gessell singled to start the frame. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, Ellingworth singled to right to score Luedtke. Gessell crossed the plate on an RBI grounder from Donnie Mavencamp. Fairbanks brought him home on a double to left to trim the deficit to 5-4. The Cougars got the go-ahead runs on a Valley City error.
The Vikings tied the game at 6 in the seventh. Tyler Hannan came on in the inning and pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win.
Ellingworth led the Cougars 11-hit attack with three hits and and two runs batted in. Gessell and Spindler each had two hits.
Minnesota Morris (3-10) is back on the home field Friday for a game against Maranatha Baptist at 4 p.m.