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Brunken lifts Blue Devils past Itasca in tourney opener

The Riverland Community College baseball team pulled off a dramatic win to open the Region 13 tournament when it topped Itasca 6-5 in 12 innings in St. Cloud Thursday.

Mairion Brunken delivered the go-ahead RBI with a 12th inning sacrifice fly for the Blue Devils (30-8 overall) and he also struck out eight to pick up the pitching win in relief for the Blue Devils.

RCC led 3-0 and 5-3, but Itasca was able to take advantage of some Blue Devil errors to get back in the game.

“It was a huge win for us and it was a pretty intense game,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said. “We just left too many guys on base and we made some miscues. We didn’t put it away.”

RCC, which is ranked No. 11 in Division III NJCAA, will now play No. 3 ranked St. Cloud (36-5 overall) noon Friday.

RCC pitching: Francisco Colon 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 K; Mairion Brunken (W) 5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 8 K

RCC hitting: Jake Erickson, 2-for-5, R, 2 BBs, SB; Brunken, 4-for-6, 2 R, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs; Josh Molina, 2-for-5, R, BB, 3 RBIs; Luis Rodriguez, 1-for-6; Ian Lopez, 1-for-5, HBP; Jason McClennehan, 2-for-4, RBI; Austin Manglitz, 0-for-2; Alex Ciola, 1-for-4, HBP; Jacob Zwak, 0-for-5, R, BB; Jack McNellis, 1-for-5, R, double, BB