Tommies walk off the Bison in game three to avoid a sweep
The North Dakota State University baseball team, led by an offensive juggernaut, swept a doubleheader on Friday over the Tommies of St. Thomas University to win their third consecutive Summit League series. NDSU scored 23 runs on 27 hits in the doubleheader to roll past the Tommies by scores of 13-3 and 10-4 and guarantee the series win for the Bison. On Saturday, St. Thomas’ Sam Kulesa drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tommies a 2-1 walk-off win and avoid a series sweep for the Bison at Koch Diamond in St. Paul, Minn.
Bison score early and often in 13-3 rout –
In Friday’s game one, North Dakota came out swinging by scoring seven runs in the first two innings to gain an early lead on the Tommies, a lead they would not relinquish. James Dunlap got the Bison on the board immediately with a two-run single in the top of the first. Jack Steil and Terrell Huggins each added an RBI sacrifice fly to make the score 4-0. Druw Sackett had the big blow in the second inning when he drove a pitch from St. Thomas starter Kolby Gartner over the left field fence for a three-run home run to increase the advantage to 7-0.
After the Tommies tallied single runs in the second and third innings, the Bison scored again. Catcher Will Busch led off with a double. He advanced to third on Garett Hill’s sac fly and scored on Cadyn Schwabe’s double. Schwabe stole third base but was stranded there when Gartner forced Sackett into a pop-out and struck out NDSU’s Peter Brookshaw. After three and a half, the Bison led 8-2.
With two outs in the sixth, the Bison pushed another run across when Schwabe’s triple knocked in Garett Hill, who had walked in the previous at-bat. After Gartner induced Sackett into an inning-ending ground out, the Bison led 9-2.
In the seventh, the Bison put the game away for good starting with Brookshaw’s triple off of Tommie reliever Tucker Huhn, who replaced Gartner to start the seventh. A Dunlap single, a Huggins double and a single by Jack Steil pushed across three more runs for the Herd and threatened to end the game early via the 10-run rule as the score now stood at 12-3.
The Bison got their 10-run lead in the eighth when Dunlap drove in Drew Sackett with a ground out. Sackett reached on a walk to open the inning and moved to third on a Brookshaw single. With the score now 13-3, Bison starter Cade Feeney forced two ground outs and struck out St. Thomas’ Max Moris for the second time to clinch the Bison win.
Feeney (4-3) earned the win with an eight-inning complete game performance, the most innings in a game for a Bison pitcher this year. Feeney surrendered three Tommie runs, all earned, on seven hits while striking out four. Gartner (1-4) took the defeat for the Tommies.
NDSU’s James Dunlap legs out a hit against St. Thomas on Friday. Dunlap batted .400 and drove in seven RBIs for the Bison in their series sweep of the Tommies. Photo Courtesy | Jacob Reiner
James Dunlap led the Bison with four runs driven in, followed closely by Jack Steil’s three. Schwabe went 4 for 5 at the plate scoring two runs and collecting two RBIs.
NDSU jumps out to another big start to sweep doubleheader –
NDSU began game two in a similar fashion with a nine-run explosion in the first two innings on St. Thomas starter Walker Retz. With one out, Druw Sackett and Peter Brookshaw singled. James Dunlap then hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Sackett, his fifth RBI in six at-bats. With two outs, Terrell Huggins homered to left to put the Bison up 3-0 in the top half of inning number one.
After St. Thomas struck back in the bottom half with two runs on two hits off of Bison starter Tristen Roehrich to make the score 3-2, the Bison had their big inning. Assisted by three St. Thomas errors, the Bison plated six runs thanks to a two-run homer from Stephen Lund, a two-run double from James Dunlap and RBI singles by Druw Sackett and Jack Steil. The Bison received seven extra bases in the inning thanks to the Tommies’ errors. After an inning and a half, the Bison were up 9-2.
The St. Thomas pitchers kept the Bison quiet for the majority of the remaining innings, but the damage had been done. NDSU did add a run in the seventh when Dunlap singled and advanced to second on yet another St. Thomas error. He scored when Terrell Huggins doubled to left to end the Bison scoring at 10. The Tommies did tack on a couple of runs scoring one in the third and one in the sixth but were never a threat to the Bison after the second inning.
Roehrich (3-5) earned his third win of the season against five losses. Wetz, the Tommies’ starter took the loss to fall to 0-3. Brookshaw, Dunlap, Huggins, Sackett and Cadyn Schwabe each had two hits for the Herd. Dunlap and Huggins each collected three RBIs.
St. Thomas walks off the Bison 2-1 to avoid a sweep –
On a rainy Saturday afternoon at Koch Diamond, St. Thomas, in dramatic fashion, pulled out a last-minute 2-1 victory over the Bison. St. Thomas went ahead 1-0 in the second when St. Thomas’ Ben Vujovich doubled down the right field line scoring Joe Roder who had singled.
Only three Bison runners made it as far as second base in the first eight innings, but the Bison struck in the top of the ninth. After James Dunlap led off with a walk, Terrell Huggins advanced Dunlap to second with a sacrifice bunt. Then, Jack Steil produced a clutch one-out single to score Dunlap tying the game at 1-1, and forced the Tommies to the plate in the bottom half of the inning.
NDSU’s Jack Steil waits for a pitch on Friday at Koch Diamond in St. Paul, Minn. Steil had five RBIs for the Bison in their series win over St. Thomas University. Photo Courtesy | Dennis Hubbard
However, the Bison momentum would come to a quick end when the Tommies’ Joe Roder led off with a single and advanced to second on Vujovich’s sacrifice bunt. Sam Kulesa, who entered the game on a double switch when St. Thomas replaced starter Evan Esch with reliever Duke Coborn, then delivered the winning single to right field scoring Roder and securing the win for the Tommies and preventing a Bison sweep of the series.
Coborn, who entered the game in the seventh, got credit for the win and improved his record to 2-2. Skyler Riedinger entered the game in the seventh and was stuck with the loss. He is now 0-3 on the season. Jack Steil collected the lone RBI for the Bison.
Stat Sheet –
– NDSU hitters batted .350 against St. Thomas in Friday’s doubleheader. On Saturday, they hit .137.
– Congratulations to Peter Brookshaw who started and played in his 200th game. He currently ranks sixth for most games started and tied for sixth for most games played in Bison history.
– Both teams struggled on defense in the series, but St. Thomas had seven errors over the weekend. The Bison had four errors in game two.
– The Bison are now 3-0 in Summit League series wins this season. While the weather has wreaked havoc on the Summit League thus far this spring, the Bison currently sit in second place at 6-3.
Bison on the Mound –
– Cade Feeney won his fifth consecutive start on Friday. He has dropped his ERA to under 5.00 at 4.96. He has 22 strikeouts against six walks in the five wins and has given up a total of five earned runs over the last four of those starts.
– Joey Danielson earned his first save of the season in game two.
– Parker Puetz pitched well on Saturday but ran into an even better performance from St. Thomas’ Evan Esch. Puetz struck out two while walking one in a six-inning, five-hit outing. His lone earned run given up had him on the hook for the loss when he left the game, but he was bailed out at the plate by his teammates.
Bison at the Plate –
– The Bison had a great weekend at the plate. 24 runs, 31 hits, and eleven multi-base hits to include three home runs. Even on Saturday, when they managed only four hits, two came in the clutch in the ninth inning to tie the game at 1-1.
– Leading the charge of multiple outstanding performances at the plate was James Dunlap. Dunlap went 4 for 10 at the plate collecting seven RBIs and scoring four runs. Close behind Dunlap was Jack Steil who finished the weekend 4 for 8. His five RBIs include the game-tying RBI in the ninth inning of game three. Finally, Cadyn Schwabe makes the list once again with a 6 for 9 performance. He managed two RBIs from the lead-off spot while scoring three runs.
Next up for the Herd –
– NDSU (10-24, 6-3 Summit) is next scheduled to open at home in Fargo on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. against non-conference foe Mayville State University. The Bison then open the home portion of their Summit League schedule when they host the first-place Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts University (26-10,11-0 Summit). The first pitch for Friday night’s opener is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field. The series will continue with single games on Saturday and Sunday. Student tickets are available at gobison.com/students. Please follow any schedule changes at gobison.com