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Minks' power surge helps VU split doubleheader with St. Joseph

PHOTO: CHRIS MINKS

Vincennes University sophomore designated hitter Chris Minks homered twice, including a grand slam blast, as part of a 4-for-5 performance and sophomore hurler Mitchell Lawson turned in five solid innings in relief on the mound Sunday when the Baseball Team took the second game of a doubleheader vs. visiting St. Joseph at Jerry Blemker Field. The 13-6 win came after VU dropped the opener to the Pumas by a 12-4 score.
In Game 1, Minks was 3-for-3 with three singles and a run driven in to begin his monster day. The grand slam in Game 2 accounted for four of his six RBIs in that contest. In all, on Sunday, Minks was 7-for-8 with seven RBIs in two games.
GAME 1:
The score was tied 4-4 heading into the seventh inning when VU starter Jared Lauer was lifted after six innings of five-hit baseball in which he struck out three and walked two St. Joseph hitters. Lauer had given up a run in the fourth and a second tally in the fifth. He yielded a pair of runs in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Pumas struck in a big way by sending 12 hitters to the plate and scoring eight runs against VU relievers Drew Johnston, Colton Pittman and Zack Longnecker. The Trailblazers couldn't get anything going in the bottom of the inning and St. Joseph closed out the win.
In addition to Minks' 3-for-3 game with a run scored and another driven in, sophomore infielder Brad Hartman was 3-for-3 with a run scored for VU, while freshman outfielder Matt Kunce was was 1-for-2 with a run and a RBI. Freshman outfielder Nathan Forrest also had a RBI for the Trailblazers.
GAME 2:
After the Trailblazers' Game 2 starter, sophomore Zach Reining sat St. Joseph down without scoring in the first, VU went to work on the Pumas with a pair of first inning runs. Lauer reached on a one-out error and had advanced to third on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly when Minks unloaded his first homer to almost straight-away center field to make it 2-0 VU early on. It was Minks' first round-tripper of the season.
Things swung back in St. Joseph's favor in the top of the second when the Pumas batted around with nine hitters and scored three runs to climb in front, 3-2. In the bottom of the inning, VU eclipsed St. Joseph's eruption as the Trailblazers exploded for seven runs. Most of the inning's production came on Minks' bases-loaded bomb to right-center, but VU had several heroes in the inning. Sophomore center fielder Matt Volz started things off with a triple. One out later, sophomore catcher Garrett Smith reached on an error by the Pumas' third baseman. Johnston then bunted for a hit before Hartman, Lauer and sophomore third baseman Lance Myers all walked. The bases on balls drawn by Lauer and Myers each plated a run. Minks then cleared the bases and chased St. Joseph starter A.J. Childerson.
The Pumas called on reliever David Schurr and Kunce greeted him with a single before Schurr got a strikeout and ground ball out to end the rally with VU up 9-3.
In the third, Lawson (1-2) took over for Reinig and allowed three runs in the fourth but kept the Pumas off the board the rest of the way. The Trailblazers however scored a run fourth, two in the fifth and a final run in the sixth for the final score.
Along with Minks' huge day, Myers was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI, while Hartmans was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored in Game 2. Lauer was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs driven in. Lauer also scored twice. Finally, Kunce was 3-for-4 with a RBI and freshman Justin Kirkpatrick finished the game 1-for-2 with a run knocked in.
Lawson gave up four hits while striking out six and walking four in his five innings of three-run baseball for the victory.
VU (9-15) is scheduled to continue its string of home games on Monday with a 6 p,m. contest vs. Wabash Valley. VU will play yet again on Tuesday at home as the Trailblazers host Sinclair in another doubleheader at 2 p.m., and the stretch of games at Jerry Blemker Field wraps up Wednesday with a 6 p.m. game vs. Danville.

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