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Freshman Andrew Thome hurled his third-straight complete game and held Houston Baptist to a pair of hits in the process.
Thome two-hits Huskies in series-opening triumph
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Updated: Saturday 05/11/2012 17:50:58 (ET)
by Ryan Powell, UND Media Relations
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Freshman Andrew Thome (St. Cloud, Minn.) tossed a two-hitter and redshirt freshman Michael Anastasi (Buckley, Wash.) hit a game-winning home run in the seventh inning to lift North Dakota to a 3-2 victory over Houston Baptist in the Great West series opener on Friday at Kraft Field.

Anastasi’s home run was the first of his collegiate career as Thome made the run hold up late as UND (14-31, 7-14 GWC) won its fourth straight game.

“That was another great outing by Andrew and Michael came up with a huge hit for us,” UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. “He has had a couple of good days of batting practice and took advantage of being in the lineup with the injury to Kyle Bolander.”

Junior Kris Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) homered to lead off the first and leftfielder Seth Means (Gillette, Wyo.) added a RBI-double to stake Thome to a quick 2-0 lead. Those would prove to be huge runs as HBU starter Dalton Schafer found his groove after a rocky first frame and retired 10 straight at one point after a one-out single by Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) in the second.

The Huskies managed just an infield single off Thome through five innings, but the Huskies were able to tie the game in the sixth. Thome walked his second batter of the game with two outs in that frame and centerfielder Jake Gonzalez evened things up on the scoreboard with a two-run homer.

“Andrew is a fierce, fierce competitor and after he gave up that home run, he settled down and did a tremendous job to finish the game out,” Dodson added. “He was probably more upset about the walk before the home run, but he is the kind of guy that can develop some internal energy and really impose his will on the opposing hitters.”

Gonzalez’ fifth home run of the season snapped a 24-inning scoreless streak by Thome, who had thrown back-to-back shutouts in Great West play. Those were also the first two earned runs Thome has allowed at his home ballpark this season (36.2 innings).

Schafer had held the Sioux off the scoreboard for five-straight at bats before Anastasi delivered the game-winning homer in the seventh. The redshirt freshman had just one extra-base hit in 22 starts prior to his go-ahead blast.

After an error put the leadoff runner on in the seventh, Thome retired the last nine Huskies he faced, including getting three of his eight strikeouts during that last stretch. He improved to 4-5 overall as he won his third straight league start. Schafer, who went the distance for the Huskies, took the loss to fall to 4-7 on the season.

The Sioux outhit the Huskies 9-2 in the contest as freshman Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) continued his torrid hitting to pace the team with three hits. Kwak also had two hits in the contest and his first-inning homer was his second of the season.

UND and Houston Baptist will continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at Noon. Children ages 5-12 are invited to come to the park for Youth Athletics Day and run out on the field with the Sioux prior to the start of game one.

– UND –
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