The Prior Lake Mudcats earned a split to open the season.
In the opener June 30, St. Patrick exploded for five runs in the sixth inning and added three more runs in the seventh en route to a 9-1 road victory over Prior Lake in Dakota-Rice-Scott League play.
The Mudcats followed with a 7-6 win at Union Hill the next night in DRS action.
The two games were the Mudcats' first in nearly 10 months, since losing 4-1 to Delano back on Aug. 24 in the second round of the 2019 Class C state tournament. Last summer, Prior Lake played in its fourth state tournament since 2010.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of this season for nearly six weeks, before the 248 teams in the Minnesota Baseball Association got the go-ahead to begin play back on June 19.
The Mudcats are back on the field July 8 against Lonsdale and will take on Shakopee July 9. Both league home games will start at 7:30 p.m.
Prior Lake is on the road at Webster in DRS action July 12 at 2 p.m., and will play at New Prague July 15 in league play at 7:30 p.m.
In the setback to St. Patrick, Luke Weber took the loss for Prior Lake, allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings of work. He gave up 10 hits and struck out two.
Justin Hackett worked 1 2/3 innings for the Mudcats, allowing four runs on five hits, while fanning two. Jackson Kesler worked two scoreless frames, giving up one hit and striking out two.
Alex Wattermann walked one and struck out one working one-third of an inning.
Cole Bjorge and Ben Morrison had the Mudcats' two hits. Bjorge scored the team's lone run in the bottom of the seventh.
In beating Union Hill, Prior Lake scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 7-5 lead. Morrison worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits, while striking out three to get the win.
Watermann got the save with 2 2/3 innings of relief, giving up one hit and fanning five.
Bjorge had a two-run homer for the Mudcats, while Wattermann also drove in two runs. Johnny Houston finished 2 for 5 with an RBI, while Corbin Cross was 2 for 4 with a run knocked in.
BJ Benz also had an RBI for Prior Lake, while Jerad Lehrer had a hit and a run scored.
For more on the Mudcats, go to priorlakebaseball.com. Follow the team on Twitter at @plmudcat.
Go to mnbaseball.org for more information on the MBA, including their COVID-19 guidelines.