By: Conor Fredland
CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. -- The 2017 Midwest Collegiate League Championship Series between the Bloomington Bobcats and Southland Vikings started off with an offensive classic on Saturday afternoon.
The Vikings erupted in the bottom of the third inning as the Vikings scored nine runs off of Bloomington starter Cody Hawthorne, with only three being earned. Jack Gainer roped a RBI double, then Kyle Fitzgerald roped a double scoring Gainer from third. Pat Ardnt singled in a run. Tom Decero singled in a run. Gainer had his second RBI hit of the game with a single.
Bloomington was down 10-1 but they never gave up and slowly started climbing their way back into the ballgame. In the fourth inning, Andy Shadid pitchhit for Ryan Bouwman and hit a grand slam off of Chase Pearce bringing the Bobcats within five. In the fifth, Bloomington would continue to chip away, as Nick Figus hit an RBI double scoring Zach Frey and bringing the Bobcats to within four.
Southland would get the run back however when Fitzgerald would drive in Decero with a two out RBI double, moving it back to a five-run game. That would be the final run Southland scored in the game. Bloomington would follow to score seven unanswered runs.
The Bobcats tied it up in the ninth when Nate Beal ripped an RBI single. The Vikings failed to score in the bottom of the ninth,
Bloomington would take the lead with a two-run single off the bat of Frey scoring Nate Beal and Jack Butler.
Jacob Houghton who came on in relief in the third got the win for the Bobcats. The loss went to Joe Bryant who pitched in the ninth.
The series now goes to Illinois Wesleyan Monday night as the Bobcats host the Vikings for Game 2 of the MCL Championship.
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