Baseball splits another Saturday series
By HEATHER KENNEDY
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Northern Colorado and North Dakota baseball teams split a doubleheader on Saturday with the Bears winning game one 13-3, but dropping game two 4-2.
On Wednesday after the game against Air Force, Head Coach Carl Iwasaki spoke of taking advantage with two outs and in game one, the Bears (18-24, 8-7 Great West Conference) scored 8-of-13 runs in that exact situation for the 13-3 win.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Chris Hammer threw his third-straight complete game in Great West Conference action, allowing just three runs on just seven hits. Only two of the runs were earned as the Bears had one error in the contest.
Northern Colorado had 12 hits in the first game and was aided by two UND errors. Once again, sophomore Colby Harrison was the shining star in the game, going 4-for-5 at the plate with six RBI. Senior Tony Crudo and freshman Jensen Park also each had two hits and were on base four times with two walks each. All nine hitters in the lineup reached first base at least once via hit, walk or hit by pitch.
The second game of the doubleheader saw all of the runs score early as five of the six runs were plated in the first frame. The Bears stranded 14 runners in the game and left five runners on in the final two innings alone.
UND (9-29, 3-12 Great West) scored its four runs on eight hits with one Bear error. Senior left-handed pitcher Joe Willman threw seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out a season-best seven hitters. Sophomore Josh Tinnon pitched the eighth inning, striking out two and allowed one hit.
Senior Casey Coy went 2-for-3 in the game and was the only Bear to have a multi-hit game in the nine-inning affair, though Harrison was on base twice via walk and senior Adrian Schenk reached three times after one hit and two walks.
The Bears look to split the series tomorrow in the final game. The contest start time has been moved up one hour and will now start at 11 am Mountain (noon Central).
Game One Recap
The Bears weren't about to have a repeat of yesterday and exploded for six runs in the top of the first to give sophomore Chris Hammer a comfortable lead to work with.
With two outs in the first, senior Adam Hilker doubled to right center to keep the inning alive. Both Schenk and freshman Bryan Tibbitts were hit by pitches to load the bases for Park. He singled up the middle to score two, Crudo followed with an RBI single and Harrison followed with a three-run home run down the right field line. It's just the ninth homer of the season for the Bears, but created the 6-0 advantage.
North Dakota got one run back when Jeff Campbell hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first. Neither team scored in the second inning and Hammer struck out two of the three in the frame.
The Bears tacked on two more runs in the third. Tibbitts started things off with a double down the left field line and Park singled back up the middle for runners at the corners. Harrison continued his hot streak, singling to right to score one and junior catcher Derek Baum followed with a fielder's choice to score Park.
Hammer got three straight groundouts to retire UND in order again in the third.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Park drew a walk and stole his third bag of the year on the first pitch to Crudo, but both were stranded after Crudo also walked.
UND scored one in the bottom of the fourth, though the run was unearned after the runner reached on a fielder's error. Hammer then gave up two singles and hit a batter, but was able to get a strike out and a flyout to end the frame to leave the bases loaded and make the scoreboard read 8-2.
Schenk bunted for a single to start the sixth inning and moved up on a passed ball. Park walked on a wild pitch, allowing Schenk to take third for runners at the corners with one out. Crudo singled through the right side to score Schenk. Harrison again came through with a single, this one to left field and a throwing error allowed Park to cross home. Baum hit a shot to right, but the right fielder couldn't handle the ball and he reached second on the error which scored Crudo for three more runs and an 11-2 lead.
Schenk led off the seventh as well, getting hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and moved to second on a groundout by Park. Crudo walked on a wild pitch and Schenk took third base for runners on the corners with two outs. Harrison hit a bases-clearing double down the right field line for two more runs and his sixth RBI in the contest.
North Dakota started the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. Hammer struck out Campbell on three straight pitches after a visit to the mound by pitching coach R.D. Spiehs. A sacrifice fly scored one and Hammer hit his second batter of the game to re-load the bases, but Hammer got Sam Alt to ground out to Hilker for the 10-run win, 13-3.
Game Two Recap
Freshman Eric Ferguson was hit by a pitch to start the second game. Coy singled through the 5-6 hole and Hilker hit a sinking liner into left to score Ferguson. Schenk walked on four straight pitches to load the bases with no outs. Park hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Coy for the early 2-0 advantage.
North Dakota took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first on a controversial call that would have been the third out. With two outs and the score tied at 2-2, Alt hit the ball back to Harrison, who flipped the ball over to Willman at first, but the umpire said his foot was off the bag and the run scored during the play for a 3-2 lead.
Neither team scored in the second inning.
A walk and back-to-back singles gave UND a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third. With one out and two on, Alt hit a chopper to Coy at second, who flipped to second for Hilker for one out. Hilker threw to first not in time, but Harrison gunned the ball home to Baum for a tag play for the unconventional double play to get the Bears out of the frame.
Crudo, as he seems to do quite often when leading off an inning, got on base with a five-pitch walk in the fourth. Harrison hit a pop out that looked to be out of play, and in fact, third baseman Kyle Bolander reached over the left field fence to make a great catch for the first out. With two outs, Ferguson singled to left and UND made a pitching change.
Willman gave up a single to start the fourth, but then settled in to strike out the side, all on swinging strikeouts to keep the score at 4-2. Willman was also responsible for all three outs in the fifth, handling a groundout for the first out and then striking out two more, both swinging to bring his strikeout total to a season-high six in the contest. In the sixth, the first two outs were first pitch swinging groundouts, while Willman also got the third out via groundout for a quick 1-2-3 inning.
With two outs, Schenk singled off the pitcher, Brett DeGagne's, calf. Tibbitts followed with a single up the middle, while Park was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Taylor Anderson replaced Tibbitts out at second base to put some more speed on the base paths, but the Bears were unable to take advantage of a bases loaded situation.
Tinnon came on in relief of Willman and struck out the first two of the inning. Alex Twenge singled and Tinnon made a great defensive play for the final out of the eighth inning, but the Bears were unable to get anything going in the ninth and fell 4-2.