MORRIS -The Martin Luther College baseball team won the first game of an important three-game series at UM-Morris on Friday by the score of 17-3 in seven innings.
Senior Jake Ziel had a big day for the Knights, improving to 5-1 on the mound for the season and going 3-for-6 at the plate with five RBIs and three runs scored.
Among Ziel's hits was a grand slam in the sixth inning to blow the game open. The home run was the first of his career. Ziel also picked up the 100th hit of his career in the game.
The Knights started the game with three runs in the top of the first inning, with Andrew Nemmers and Matt Olson picking up the RBI.
UMM came back to score three in the first two innings to tie the game, but MLC responded with 14 unanswered runs the rest of the way to get the win.
The Knights took control of the game in the third inning, scoring three runs and then backing that up with five more in the fourth.
Leading 11-3 in the sixth, Ziel's grand slam put the team ahead by 12 before then Will Jensen capped the scoring with an RBI single and run scored in the seventh.
The offensive support was more than enough for Ziel, who went 6.0 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk while striking out nine to earn the win.
At the plate, MLC finished with 15 hits compared to the Cougars' four. Ziel, Nemmers and Olson each finished with three hits for the Knights, with Nemmers and Olson also adding three RBI apiece in the game. Jensen scored four times thanks to one hit and three walks, while Olson, Ziel, Nemmers and Joe Schmudlach each scored at least two runs.
MLC improved to 10-10 on the season and 7-5 in the UMAC with the win, while UMM fell to 12-13 overall and 7-5 in league play.
The two teams will return to action at 12 p.m. Saturday when they play a doubleheader.