Bison baseball sweeps Western Illinois

NDSU’s offense and pitching prove too much for Leathernecks

The North Dakota State University baseball team used an overwhelming offensive performance to go with stellar pitching to dominate a Western Illinois squad in their Summit League series this weekend at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo. The Bison beat the Leathernecks collecting 44 runs on 42 hits for the weekend. NDSU’s starters went a combined 3-0 in winning by the scores of 10-0, 13-3 and 21-3. The 21 runs scored in game three are the most runs NDSU has scored in a single game since 2008. The Bison now sit in sole possession of second place in the Summit League.

Feeney silences Leatherneck bats in game one –

            Cade Feeney’s stellar performance on the mound and two explosive innings powered the Bison past the Leathernecks 10-0 in a game shortened by the 10-run rule. Feeney (5-4), who had his four-game winning streak snapped last week in a loss against Oral Roberts, started a new winning streak on Friday night. Throwing seven and 2/3 innings, Feeney held Western Illinois scoreless allowing five hits and a walk, while striking out five. According to NDSU Head Coach Tyler Oakes, getting ahead of the batter in the count was key.

            “I thought he did a really good job of owning the count and that is what he has been doing all year,” Oakes said. “He’s really been on fire for us in his last five, six, seven starts for us. Even last week, when he lost to Oral Roberts and his line didn’t look that great, he pitched really, really well for us.”

NDSU pitcher Cade Feeney delivers a pitch against Western Illinois on Friday night at Newman Outdoor Field. Feeney won his fifth decision of the year throwing 7 2/3 innings. The Bison defeated the Leathernecks 10-0. Photo Courtesy |  Zach Lucy

His teammates gave him plenty of support at the plate. The Bison scored five runs in both the third and eighth innings. In the third, Davis Hamilton led off with a bloop double to left field and scored on Will Busch’s single to right. With one out, Peter Brookshaw singled forcing Cadyn Schwabe to third who had reached on a fielder’s choice. After Leatherneck starter Jake Armstrong gave Druw Sackett a base-on-balls, James Dunlap then singled in a run with a sharp single to center. The big blow then came when Terrell Huggins cleared the bases with his 13th double of the season and the Bison had a 5-0 lead.

            Meanwhile, Feeney fought off WIU in the top of the second when back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases, but a clutch strikeout ended the threat. That was the only serious threat Feeney faced until the eighth.

            In the top half of the eighth, Feeney gave up two singles with two outs. Coach Oakes decided to get his starter and replace him with Joey Danielson. Danielson did the job of striking out the Leathernecks’ Jake Allgeyer to end the threat.

            “It was really pitch count,” Oakes explained on the decision to pull Feeney. “We decided to let him go back out but I was going to be short with the trigger on pulling him there. It would have been nice to get that last out, but he did more than what we want out of our Friday starter.”

With his performance, Feeney notched his third Summit League Peak Pitcher of the Week honor this season. The Bismarck, N.D., native delivered 7 2/3 scoreless frames with five strikeouts and one walk.

            In the bottom half, the Bison plated five more to end the game early. A lead-off walk to Busch, a bunt single by Schwabe and a walk to Brookshaw loaded the bases. Singles by Sackett and Dunlap brought the score to 9-0. Huggins sacrifice bunted Dunlap over to third and Jack Steil’s deep sacrifice fly to center drove home the tenth and final run.

Bison ten-run rule Leathernecks again, 13-3 –

            In game two, the Bison scored early driving home five runs in the first. James Dunlap’s first triple of the season was the big blow driving in two of the five runs. Jack Steil followed Dunlap with his 3rd homer of the year, driving in two more Bison to make the 5-0 after one inning.

            Meanwhile, Bison starter Tristen Roehrich (4-5) cruised through the Western Illinois line-up racking up seven strikeouts over his five innings pitched while shutting out the Leathernecks. Western was able to get six runners on base, but Roerich stranded them all.

NDSU pitcher Tristen Roehrich delivers a pitch against Western Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field. Roehrich earned the win with a five-inning, seven-strikeout performance while giving up one earned run. Photo Courtesy | Zach Lucy

At the plate, the Bison continued their mastery of WIU pitching. Once again, the top of the order for the Bison dominated. Singles by Brookshaw and Sackett and a double by Steil brought three more Bison across the plate for an 8-0 lead after two innings.

            In the third inning, Druw Sackett’s 2-RBI home run brought in two more runs to make the score 10-0 after three. Sackett’s home run, his tenth, tied him with Peter Brookshaw for the team lead.

            The Bison scored three more in the fourth when a combination of WIU walks and passed balls put NDSU runners at second and third. Schwabe’s ground-out to first drove in one run and in the next at-bat, Brookshaw regained the team lead in home runs by driving a Cade Hermann pitch over the right field wall to drive in the last two Bison runs and put the score at 13-0.

            After plating a run in the top half of the fifth, the Leathernecks threatened to extend the game past seven innings when WIU’s Jake Allgeyer drove in two runs after three runners reached via a hit batter and back-to-back walks. Oakes brought in Reese Ligtenberg who gave up a sac fly to move a runner into scoring position, but Ligtenberg struck out Aron Harrington looking, and Steven Walsh swinging to maintain the ten-run lead and end the game after seven innings.

In game three, the Bison complete the sweep with a 21-3 win –

            The Bison scored runs in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to win game three and the series. The fifth and sixth innings were especially damaging to any Leatherneck hopes of avoiding a sweep. NDSU scored 14 runs in the two innings in a variety of ways, but once again, the top of the order did the damage for the Bison. James Dunlap had a 5-RBI game going 3 for 4 to include two home runs, both in the fifth inning, and Druw Schwabe and Jack Steil both collected four RBIs.

            Parker Puetz earned his first win of the season, spreading six hits over six innings while walking one and striking out five Leathernecks.

            NDSU Head Coach Tyler Oakes was pleased with his team’s offensive onslaught. “I mean that’s what you’re looking for,” Oakes said. “Our numbers are almost video game numbers. We took advantage of pitches over the plate and we took our walks, too. I thought our guys did a great job of staying disciplined. Sometimes you get big leads and stray away from plate discipline and the plan.”

Stat Sheet –

            – The top six hitters in the NDSU line-up hit .615 (24-39) for the series, scoring 24 runs and collecting 31 RBIs.

            – NDSU shortstop Peter Brookshaw entered the series having committed zero errors but had three in Friday night’s contest. Two fielding and one throwing…the fielding errors were not the easiest plays, but the throwing error pulled NDSU first baseman James Dunlap off the bag and allowed a runner on base.

– James Dunlap was named the Summit League Co-Peak Performer of the Week along with Jake McMurray from Oral Roberts. He registered a .563 batting average, 1.125 slugging percentage and .526 on-base percentage. In NDSU’s four wins last week, Dunlap collected a team-best nine hits, including two home runs, one double and one triple. His 12 RBIs were a team-high including six runs scored and his two stolen bases on three attempts led the team.

            – NDSU’s three starting pitchers, Feeney, Roehrich and Puetz went 3-0 on the weekend. They surrendered a combined four earned runs on 15 hits while striking out 17 Western Illinois batters.

Next up for the Herd –

            The Bison (15-26, 10-5 Summit) now hit the road again for a trip that starts with a non-conference tilt against the Big 10’s Nebraska Cornhuskers. The first pitch from Hawks Field in Haymarket Park is set for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb. The Huskers are 22-16-1 and 7-5 in the Big Ten. The Herd will then head to Greeley, Colo. to face the Northern Colorado Bears and resume their Summit League schedule. The first pitch from Jackson Field will be on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. The series will continue with games on Saturday and Sunday. The Bears (8-27, 5-10 Summit) currently sit in fourth place in the Summit.

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