Streaking Bison Open Home Season with Three Wins

Newman Outdoor Field hosted its first games of the season this past week. The North Dakota State Bison baseball team beat Minot State 7-4 in the home opener. The Herd returned to action against South Dakota State for a weekend Summit League series.

The Beavers stretched out an early three-run lead Wednesday. The Bison rallied back for four runs in the seventh inning to take the lead for good.

Against the Jackrabbits, two dazzling pitching performances lifted the Bison. Senior Luke Lind and Reed Phannenstein toed the rubber and were virtually unhittable in the Herd’s two 4-1 victories against the border rival on Friday and Saturday.

Under the lights on Friday night, the Bison rode Lind’s masterful performance. Freshman Bennett Hostetler added a three-hit night to the win.

This season, Lind has moved from the bullpen to a starting pitching role, a move that has worked out well for Tod Brown’s side.

The visitors proved to be no match for the Eden Prairie native, who allowed only three runners to reach base, in the form of two walks and a sole hit across seven innings. The hurler threw strikes early and often. Lind continually was getting ahead of batters en route to a career-high eight strikeouts. The only run he conceded was a result of a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

At the plate, the Bison did not have a flashy night, but they capitalized on opposing pitcher Brady Stover’s mistakes. Stover walked in two runs in the second inning and allowed centerfielder Ben Peterson to score on a wild pitch in the third inning. Hostetler scorched a double in the following at bat, leading to Stover’s being lifted from the contest.

Lind was relieved by Chris Choles, who recorded the final six outs to earn his second save of the season. Lind’s record improved to 3-3 on the season and his eight K’s added to his Summit League leading total of 47.

The Jackrabbits were undone once again by the Bison’s strong pitching in Saturday’s matinee. This time, the Bison were led by Reed Phannenstein’s right arm.

The senior has righted the ship after losing five of his first six starts this season. Against the Jackrabbits, he matched Lind’s strikeout total of eight across seven-and-two-thirds innings of work. Phannenstein scattered merely five hits and his lone mistake of the night was Matt Johnson’s solo home run in the fourth inning.

The dinger proved to be of no consequence, however. Catcher Danny Palmiscno singled up the middle in the second inning to open the scoring. Peterson then corked a triple in the left centerfield gap between two converging fielders to drive in a run in the third. Mason Pierzchalski’s sacrifice fly in the following at bat drove Peterson home.

Tucker Rohde made the most of his start at third base, hitting two singles in his four at bats, however he did make one error at the hot corner.

Choles recorded the final out of the visitor’s half of the eighth inning and redshirt junior Kevin Folman picked up his fifth save of the season.

The Herd locked horns with the Jackrabbits for a final time on Sunday afternoon.

The three triumphs boosted NDSU’s record to 14-16 overall. The two conference wins saw them rise to a second place tie with the Jackrabbits for second place in the Summit League.

The Bison will continue their homestand this week with a midweek visit from the University of Minnesota. Following the game Tuesday is a weekend series with Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.

NDSU twice faced the Golden Gophers this season, splitting the two games in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, the lowly Mastodons are the conference cellar-dwellers, sitting dead last with just one conference win on the season coming against Western Illinois. First pitch for Tuesday and Friday’s games is at 6:30 p.m., and the Saturday and Sunday games will get underway at 1 p.m.

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