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3-run first inning gives Mankato West win over A.L.

The Albert Lea baseball team entered its matchup against Mankato West Thursday night  riding a two-game winning streak and as winners of four of the last five games. 

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were unable to keep their streak alive after the Scarlets jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, winning 9-2.

The Scarlets got on the board right away in the first inning, using a single in the second at-bat, followed by a triple and another single to score the first two runs of the game. They added a third run two at-bats later with their fourth hit of the inning.

Three quick outs at the plate put the Tigers back out into the field, where they held the Scarlets scoreless after allowing two base runners.

Down 3-0 in the bottom of the second, Albert Lea cut into the lead when senior Trevor Ball hit a lead off single and was followed by a double by junior Henry Eggum. Trevor Ball was brought around to score in the next at-bat by senior Blake Ulve. Eggum was tagged out attempting to take third base.

The Tigers found their defensive stride in the top of the third inning, sitting down the first three batters that stepped up to the plate. However, the Scarlets matched that energy in the bottom half of the inning as junior Brennan Bakken was the lone player to reach base.

Albert Lea again held West scoreless in the fourth inning and then cut the lead to one in the bottom. Trevor Ball started the inning with a lead off walk, followed by Eggum reaching on an error. Trevor Ball and Eggum both advanced after a passed ball, but Trevor Ball was then tagged out attempting to take home when Ulve hit into a fielder’s choice. Senior Ethan Ball also hit into a fielder’s choice but was able to score Eggum in the effort.

Now a 3-2 ballgame, the Scarlets pushed ahead with a three-run blast in the fifth inning.

The Tigers were never able to regain the momentum after that as the Scarlets tacked on another three in the sixth inning.

Junior Carter Miller started on the mound for the Tigers and pitched 4.0 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits and recording three strikeouts and one walk. Senior Caden Jensen and Trevor Ball came in for relief. Jensen pitched 2.0 innings, allowing three runs on two hits, and Trevor Ball pitched 1.0 inning, allowing zero runs on one hit.

The Tigers scored two runs on five hits and committed two errors. The Scarlets scored nine runs on 13 hits and committed two errors.

The Tigers fall to 8-5 after the loss and will be back on the diamond Saturday morning when they travel to Byron to take on the Bears.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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