The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers found themselves trailing St. Cloud 7-0 after two innings in their fifth Northwoods League matchup of the season with the River Bats.
Brainerd managed to outhit its opponent, but could only score two runs on their way to a 9-2 loss.
Starting pitcher Brian Garman lasted just two innings for Brainerd and took the loss, evening his record at 2-2. St. Cloud's Kevin Johnson pitched six innings and earned the victory.
The Lunkers' Stephen Wickens had two hits, including a double. Michael Kvasnicka, Michael Gedman, Justin Gominsky, and David Valesente each had two hits for Brainerd.
"It was one of those games where we pretty much hit the ball hard all game," said Brainerd Manager Ryan Levendoski. "We got behind 7-0 and just couldn't put anything together."
We were trying to do too much and hit three run home runs instead of doing the little things and could only score two runs. It was pretty fitting with the game ending with a double play."
Things did not go Brainerd's way from the outset as Garman gave up a hit to open the first inning. Gedman then had a throwing error. The River Bats made the Lunkers pay with three more hits and a 3-0 lead at the end of the first.
St. Cloud 9, Lunkers 2
The key: Lunkers fell behind 7-0 and hit into four double plays.
Second-half records: Brd 9-8, SC 11-5
Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud 7:05 p.m. Friday.
St. Cloud plated four more runs in the second with the big blow a three-run double by Tony Renda and the River Bats were up 7-0.
"Brian just didn't have very good stuff today and left the ball over the plate," Levendoski said. "We had a couple of miscues in the first inning with slipping on the grass, which opened the door to a big inning.
"In the second inning they had a couple of timely hits to break open the game early."
Brainerd scored in the bottom of the third as Will Piwnica-Worms singled with one out. He moved to third on a double by Wickens and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dennis O'Grady.
The Lunkers scored their second run in the fifth with Wickens getting a one-out hit. He scored on a hit by Kvasnicka to it 9-2.
While outhitting the River Bats 12-10, Brainerd was done in by four double plays. Double plays in the sixth, eighth, and ninth stifled rallies.
The oddest double play came in the fifth. With O'Grady running from second base, Gedman struck out with the ball getting away from St. Cloud catcher Adam Weisenberger. O'Grady saw the ball and believed that Gedman had fouled off the pitch. He turned to go back to second base and was tagged out.
The Lunkers' bullpen had a good night as Matt Mullendore and Mats Mattson combined to give up just two runs in seven innings.
"Both pitchers came in and threw strikes and picked us up," Levendoski said. "Matt gave up two runs in five innings, and Mats came in and didn't give up any runs. But the biggest thing in this league is starting pitching. It gives you a chance to win and if you don't get it it's hard to win."
The Lunkers will attempt to make it three wins in a row at St. Cloud this season as the teams play there Friday night.
St. Cloud 340 200 000 - 9 10 0
Brainerd 001 010 000 - 2 12 1
St. Cloud: Kevin Johnson, Eric Marzec (7), Tyler Fries (9) and Adam Weisenberger.
Brainerd: Brian Garman, Matt Mullendore (3), Mats Mattson (8) and Hunter Nolen.
WP: Johnson (2-4). LP: Garman (2-2).
2B: Brd-Stephen Wickens, Nolen
3B: StC-Tony Renda.
HR: StC-Danny Oh, Matt Summers.
SF: StC-Zac Richard, Brd-Dennis O'Grady
RBIs: StC-Oh, Renda 3, Summers 3, Richard 2, Brd-O'Grady, Michael Kvasnicka
LOB: Brd 6, StC 5
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