GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The North Dakota baseball team managed a doubleheader split with New York Institute of Technology on Saturday as the Sioux won game two 8-5 after dropping game one 13-8 to the Bears. UND (11-31, 5-14 GWC) will try for its first Great West series win on Sunday in the finale, while the Bears (5-35, 3-16 GWC) will look for the split.
“Once again our guys came back to win game two after a tough loss,” UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. “We let game one get away and our guys know that. We just need to get that killer instinct and once we do that, we’ll be a pretty good team. Unfortunately, right now when we get a lead our guys get passive instead of staying aggressive.”
Game One – NYIT 13, UND 8 (seven innings)
Freshman Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) belted a two-run homer in the first inning and the offense added five more in the second to stake starter Tyler Ruemmele (Eden Prairie, Minn.) to a 7-0 lead. The seven-run cushion allowed the right-hander to cruise through the first four innings of play, as he allowed only three hits and struck out three in those frames.
Unfortunately, after Ruemmele registered the first out of the fifth inning, he lost his command and walked five straight Bears to plate two runs. That forced Dodson to make a pitching change to left-hander Chris Knoll (Minnetonka, Minn.).
Knoll would like to have his first pitch back as NYIT first baseman Michael Fermin sent it over the left field fence for a grand slam.
Fermin’s home run made it a 7-6 contest, but Knoll was able to get the next two Bears out to keep his squad in the lead. After NYIT starter Ryan Dillabough set the Sioux down in order in the fifth, the Bear’s took the momentum from the bases-clearing blast into the sixth as the visitors surged ahead with seven more runs. This time, NYIT did its damage thanks to seven singles and a pair of walks off three UND relievers.
Senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.), who went 3-for-3 for the second straight game against the Bears, got one of those runs back in the sixth on a RBI-single, but that would be the only tally the team would score off NYIT relieve Matt Maier, who picked up his first win of the season in relief of Dillabough.
Designated hitter Zack Trygstad (Wayzata, Minn.) went 2-for-3 in the opener and senior Seth Means (Gillette, Wyo.) also had two hits as every Sioux in the lineup hit safely. Junior Kris Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) provided three of the five runs in the second on his first home run of the season.
Game Two – UND 8, NYIT 5
Left-hander Ben Clark (White Bear Lake, Minn.) picked up his first collegiate win in the night cap after working a career-long 7.2 innings in his seventh start of the season. Freshman Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) had two hits and scored three runs and classmate Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) homered for the third straight game to pace a 10-hit attack for the Sioux.
The Bears took a brief 1-0 lead in the first off Clark before Campbell quickly tied the score with his team-leading 11th home run of the season in the bottom half of the frame.
Bolander provided the first lead of the game for the home team with a sacrifice fly in the third before the offense broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning. Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) plated the first two runs with a double. Follis then added a RBI-single and Sam Alt (Lino Lakes, Minn.) capped the scoring with a two-run single.
Clark cruised into the seventh before a bout of wildness allowed the Bears to plate a pair of unearned runs after UND’s only error of the game extended the inning. Those two runs made it an 8-3 contest and the visitors would add another pair in the eighth to make things interesting, but senior Kevin Auth (Cambridge, Minn.) was able to pitch around a ninth-inning single to give UND a 2-1 edge in the series.
Clark allowed six hits and only two of the four runs he allowed were earned as he improved to 1-3 on the season. Alt and junior Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) joined Follis with two hits in the contest.
The Sioux and Bears will close out their four-game series at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Kraft Field.
– UND –