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Ryan Reese had a pair of hits in the opener and leads UND in hitting in the early going.
Muckenhirn's outing not enough as UND drops two
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Updated: Saturday 03/01/2014 21:16:05 (ET)
by Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
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CONWAY, Ark.-- UND dropped a pair of games Saturday, falling in heart-breaking fashion in the opener, 4-3 before a 4-0 loss in the nightcap. Freshman Zach Muckenhirn was the highlight in a solid collegiate debut.

"Muckenhirn threw great in game one," UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. "He will push to be in the conference rotation in two weeks at Utah Valley.  Pleased with the effort from our guys but we have to keep getting better."

CENTRAL ARKANSAS 4, UND 3
Muckenhirn, making his first collegiate start, shook off back-to-back hits to start the bottom of the first and got a pair of strikeouts-- part of six on the day-- to end the first frame. From there, Muckenhirn only allowed two more hits in the next 5.1 innings, cruising through the Central Arkansas lineup. After a strikeout looking  to open the seventh, Muckenhirn was relieved by Patrick Riewer, who took over with a 3-1 lead. He worked around a one-out walk and North Dakota (0-4) had a two-run cushion going into the final two innings.

The home team scored in the eighth to make it a one-run game and Ellery Bresnahan (0-1), also making his debut, come on to try to get the final four outs. He induced a popup to get out of the eighth but a leadoff walk in the ninth would prove to be huge. An error tied the score at 3-3 and a walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases with two down. A final free pass gave the Bears a comeback win, 4-3.

Muckenhirn finished with a no decision, throwing 6.1 innings with four hits, no earned runs and six strikeout against one walk. Dalton Parrott and Ryan Reese each recorded a pair of hits while Taylor Petersen and Zachk Trygstad notched RBIs in the opener.

ILLINOIS STATE 4, UND 0
In game two, Illinois State's Dylan Craig (2-0) held the UND bats to just two hits while the bullpen worked the final three innings with just one North Dakota base hit.

"We ran up against a really good arm in game two today and we couldn't do much with him," Dodson said. "Our pitchers kept us in all of the games this weekend so we have to keep building next week against Saint Louis."

ISU (6-2) got all of its runs in the early innings, scoring three in the second and another in the third. Two of those were unearned as Jeff Campbell went four innings, scattering six hits in his first start on the mound this season. Brett DeGagne threw three innings of two-hit ball and Brock Johnson worked a one-two-three ninth but North Dakota couldn't rally and lost, 4-0.

Campbell, Tyler Follis and Dalton Leuschke generated the UND hits in game two.

North Dakota heads to Saint Louis next weekend for a four-game set.
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