Two wins in three games, including a 1-0 gem by Joe Swanson against Rum River, have vaulted the Princeton Panthers into a tie for second place in the Eastern Minny.
Swanson pitched a two-hitter in a 96-minute game on Wednesday at Cambridge and recorded 22 outs in the infield.
Sunday at Hinckley the Panthers lost 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader with the Knights and eked out a 7-6 win in the second game.
That left the Panthers with a 5-3 record in league games, tied for second with Rum River, with Hinckley on top.
“I thought we played well in all of the games,” said manager Jules Zimmer. “We played two good games against a good Hinckley team and Josh [Ludwig] could just have well won that game we lost 2-1.”
Princeton has a home game Friday night with Nowthen at 7:30, will get a forfeit win from a Chisago Lakes team that has disbanded, and plays Mora here next Wednesday night at 7:30.
Swanson threw only 80 pitches in his nine-inning shutout, giving up a single and one in the eighth.
A runner reached second after an error in the fourth and a runner was stranded on third in the sixth after the single, a passed ball and an infield out.
The veteran lefty retired 15 of 16 batters at one point and got 20 of the last 22.
Meanwhile, it was a frustrating night for the offense which banged out 15 hits but managed only one run.
Eighteen runners were left on base and in seven innings the Panthers stranded two or more runners.
The only run came in the fifth when Jerad Goldsmith got the first of his three singles, was sacrificed to second by Jordan Neubauer and scored on a two-out Ryan Carling single.
Sam Solberg also had three hits and Jesse Zimmer, Mark Beattie and Neubauer each had two hits.
AB R H RBI
Norman,2b 6 0 1 0
Carling,cf 2 0 1 1
Zimmer,2b 3 0 2 0
Danna,pr 0 0 0 0
Solberg,dh 5 0 3 0
Swanson,p 0 0 0 0
Ostmoe,1b 3 0 1 0
Beattie,rf 5 0 2 0
Vickers,3b 5 0 0 0
Goldsmith,lf 4 1 3 0
Neubauer,c 4 0 2 0
40 1 15 1
RUM RIVER 30 0 2 0
IP H R ER BB SO Swanson 9 2 0 0 0 4
The Knights scored a run in the first, the Panthers tied it in the sixth, and Hinckley pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh, the final inning of the first game of a doubleheader.
Ludwig was the hard-luck loser for the Panthers, the run in the seventh being unearned after a leadoff double. A sacrifice fly by the No. 9 hitter plated the winning run.
He retired 10 in a row in the middle innings and got 13 of 14 through the sixth.
The Panthers had only three hits off lefty Truett Kruschel – a single by Solberg in the first, a RBI double by Carling with two outs in the sixth and a single by Beattie in the seventh.
Kyle Norman scored the run after reaching base on an error and stealing second.
After Beattie singled with one out in the seventh, Jesse Zimmer drew a pinch-hit walk with two outs. But the game ended with a groundout.
AB R H RBI
Norman,2b 3 1 0 0
Carling,cf 2 0 1 1
Solberg,ss 3 0 1 0
Ostmoe,1b 3 0 0 0
Beattie,rf 3 0 1 0
Vickers,3b 3 0 0 0
Goldsmith,lf 3 0 1 0
Mensen,dh 2 0 0 0
Zimmer,ph 0 0 0 0
Ludwig,p 0 0 0 0
Neubauer,c 2 0 0 0
24 1 3 1
HINCKLEY 25 2 6 2
IP H R ER BB SO Ludwig 6.1 6 2 1 1 2
The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the first, fell behind 3-2 after three, and then had a 5-3 lead after the sixth inning of the seven-inning game.
The Panthers tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh and they proved to be important.
Erik Ostmoe opened the inning with a walk and scored on an error and Ryan Danna singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Neubauer.
Josh Vickers gave up six hits in six innings and the Knights scored in only the third. But he got in trouble in the seventh when the leadoff hitter reached on an error and two extra-base hits followed.
Swanson relieved at that point and got two fly ball outs, one more run scoring to make it 7-5.
Another error gave Hinckley its sixth run and put a runner on second. But a pop fly ended the game, Swanson getting the save and Vickers the win.
The Panthers banged out nine hits and were assisted by five Hinckley errors.
(A box score for the game was unavailable.)