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Spartans take three of four at home

After a weekend of circling the bases, a scoreless game was not likely to be expected by anyone in attendance for Sunday's series finale between Southwestern Community College's baseball team and visiting Minnesota West Community College from Worthington, Minnesota.

When the Spartans failed to push across a run when they loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, the thought on SWCC coach Pedro Hernandez's mind was if his team would score a run before the day was over.

“After bases loaded with no outs you start thinking if we don't score they’re (MWCC) going to score at one point," Hernandez said.

But a resounding triple to deep right center off the bat of Kevin Torres and a passed ball moments later sent the winning run across the plate for a 1-0 Southwestern victory Sunday to close out the Spartans' third win in the four-game series against Minnesota West.

Oscar Rivera and Yadiel Cruz combined to throw seven innings of one-hit ball in the win, with the lone hit coming off of Cruz in the seventh.

“For the guys to keep getting wins and now finally start winning those close games is finally what we’re looking for," Hernandez said.

The Spartans came up just short in the first game Sunday despite rally for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss to start Sundays games.

A Gabriel Leon bloop single scored those two runs, but the Spartans came up short when Pedro Nazario struck out with Leon on first to end the game.

The Spartans celebrated a pair of wins Saturday.

Southwestern came up with the timely hit in the first game.

Stephen Soto plated the game-winning runs with a single in the sixth to give the Spartans a 7-5 lead.

“I was looking for my fastball,” Soto said. “I got it squared around, thankfully got around.”

The Spartans carried over their recent hot streak into the first game of a four-game weekend set.

“We just find a way to get it started,” Soto said. “We’re on a roll.”

Seeing Soto come through in a clutch situation was important for the freshman. 

“For him to come up in that situation as a freshman in a tough situation, that’s good to see,” Hernandez said. “That’s good to see they’re growing.”

The two teams went back and fourth in game one. Minnesota West took a 3-1 lead into the fourth, but Southwestern countered with two runs.

Minnesota West responded with a run in the fifth, but Southwestern had a response with a run in the home half to tie it at 4-4.

The Bluejays rallied ahead with a run to lead 5-4 after five and a half.

Southwestern countered with the game-winning three-run rally in the bottom the sixth for the win.

Spartans ace Sean Houston had a bit of a tough start for the Spartans but ground it out to keep the Spartans in the game. 

“He battled with what he had,” Herenandez said. 

Minnesota West tallied a run in the top of the first in game one.

Southwestern countered with a strong start. The Spartans stormed out with a four-run spot in the bottom of the first.

Minnesota West answered with two in the second.

The Spartan offense dominated from there, scoring 10 unanswered runs to end the game after five innings by the mercy rule.

Southwestern had five in the second, four in the third and scored the eventual game-ending run in the fourth.

“The bats speak for themselves,” Soto said. 

Ian Torres overcame a shaky start to earn the win.

He had to overcome a cut on his right pitching hand that was oozing blood for part of the game.

“The few few innings, I was kid of lost,” Torres said. “I had a cut on my finger. There was a lot of blood. I had to make an adjustment.”

He worked between his fastball, curveball, change up, sinker effectively to slow down the Bluejay bats.

“I mixed everything up,” Torres said. “That’s why I got people out.” 

Torres delivered another quality start for Southwestern.

“Ian did a great job,” Hernandez said. “He does a good job. It was not the best, but he gave us a good outing. That was good.”

Southwestern (8-12) hosts Ellsworth Wednesday at home at 2 p.m.

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