GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Two Houston Baptist hurlers combined for a 5-0 shutout on Sunday at Kraft Field as the visiting Huskies earned a Great West Conference series victory with the win over North Dakota. HBU right-handers Curtis Jones and Michael Schulle spoiled Senior Day for five Fighting Sioux team members as UND (14-34, 7-17 GWC) wrapped up a 15-game homestand.
The Sioux went 9-6 during that stretch, but were outplayed by the Huskies (22-29, 13-11 GWC) over the last three games to drop their first GWC series at home this season.
HBU did more with its opportunities in this one as UND had its chances too, but could not push any runs across leaving eight men stranded in the contest. The Huskies only outhit the Sioux 8-7 in a contest that was scoreless through five innings.
“We just could not do anything offensively today,” UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. “That sixth inning was big because we had a chance to respond to their three runs, but just came up empty with a strikeout and a double play. That was a momentum killer.”
The Sioux had their first chance to score in the second, putting runners on second and third after Sam Alt (Lino Lakes, Minn.) doubled and Daniel Ross (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) walked and moved up a base on a wild pitch, but they were left stranded by Jones.
Campbell and Jones were locked in a pitcher’s duel through five innings as both hurlers had allowed only two hits and had five punch outs at that point. The sixth inning was a different story, and, unfortunately for UND, the Huskies plated all three of their base runners, while the Sioux could not score any of their three.
HBU got a two-out, RBI-double by Collin Hetzler and Kolby Arnst followed with a two-run homer to break the scoreless tie and move ahead 3-0, while the Sioux had the bases loaded with nobody out and came up empty.
UND opened the frame with back-to-back singles by freshman Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) and Campbell. Senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.) then drew walk to pack the bases, but the Huskies’ freshman was able to strike out Seth Means (Gillette, Wyo.) and get Alt to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the shutout intact.
Campbell regrouped to hold the Huskies off the scoreboard in the top of the seventh, but Jones once again had to escape trouble in the bottom half. He allowed two base runners on a double and a single before giving way to reliever Michael Schulle. The tall right-hander was able to get two fly outs, however, to end that threat and keep his team in front 3-0.
Jones finished with a season-high six strike outs and Schulle pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn his second save of the season and combine for the first shutout of the season by HBU. The Huskies provided their pitching duo with two more insurance runs in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Campbell tossed his fifth complete game of the season, while striking out a career-high nine Huskies, but two innings proved to be the difference in this one as he fell to 3-7 on the season. He also had two of his team’s seven hits in the contest.
“I thought Jeff threw well enough today to get a win,” Dodson added. “We just could not give him an offensive support and come through with big hits when those opportunities presented themselves.”
The Sioux honored their five seniors in a pre-game ceremony as Kevin Auth (Cambridge, Minn.), Bolander, Means, Ross and Zac Salfer (Sleepy Eye, Minn.) all received a frame picture of their playing careers before first pitch.
UND will travel to the Windy City on Thursday to begin its final GWC regular season series of the season. The Sioux and Cougars will be battling for the sixth seed at the upcoming GWC Tournament in Orem, Utah on May 22-26.
– UND –