CHICAGO, Ill.-- What started as a pitcher's duel ended in a 7-1 win for North Dakota in 10 innings at Chicago State Saturday in Western Athletic Conference play. Behind a gem from starter freshman Zach Muckenhirn and an offensive onslaught in that final frame, North Dakota took the second game of the three-game series.
"Much better effort by our guys today," UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. "The intensity was great today and the way the guys responded in the 10th was great to see. Overall, a team effort today with Muckenhirn going into the 10th for us and earning the win."
Muckenhirn had a no-hitter through four, a one-hitter through eight innings and pitched into the 10th inning to earn his second win. The southpaw threw a career-high 143 pitches before yielding way to junior Brock Johnson who induced a game-ending double play.
North Dakota (7-17, 7-4 WAC) broke the scoreless tie in the second inning when back-to-back singles by Zack Trygstad and Jeff Campbell opened the frame. After a sacrifice and a strikeout, Sam Alt walked and Jacob Threlkeld also coaxed a base on balls to score the first run.
That lone run would hold up through eight as Muckenhirn was in control. The freshman did not allow a hit through four innings and was able to work out of a jam in the fifth to maintain the lead. A one-out hit broke up the no-no and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out. Muckenhirn was able to induce an inning-ending double play and UND held onto the 1-0 advantage.
CSU (11-24, 1-10) had a runner at second in the sixth but went meekly in the seventh as Muckenhirn needed just nine pitches to retire the side. He would work out of a two-out walk in the eighth and went to the ninth with just the one hit and four strikeouts on 113 pitches.
In the ninth, CSU finally broke through with a leadoff single and a double to plate the Cougar run and tie the score. The freshman battled and retired the side to send it to extras.
In visitor's half of the 10th, UND struck for six to break the game wide open. North Dakota got a leadoff walk from Threlkeld, eventually loading the bases with one down. North Dakota continued the merry-go-round with a walk, a single and another walk to plate three.
Sam Alt then ripped a single to score another and Threlkeld pushed another across with UND's fourth hit of the inning for a commanding 7-1 North Dakota advantage. Muckenhirn got one out in the 10th to make it his longest outing of his career, throwing 143 pitches and allowing one run and five hits with four strikeouts and six walks.
Campbell led the way offensively, rapping three hits, scoring a run and driving in another. Tyler Follis had a pair of hits with a run scored while Alt and Threlkeld each drove in two at the bottom of the lineup.
The teams complete the series with Sunday's 1:00 p.m. finale.
Notes: Muckenhirn entered the game as the WAC leader in strikeouts per game ... His previous longest outing was an eight-inning win for his first collegiate victory March 15th at Utah Valley ... It was the first game to go extra innings for North Dakota since the season finale last year, a 7-6 home win vs. Chicago State (May 18) ... Muckenhirn's 9.1 IP marked the longest outing by a UND pitcher since Trent Egan went 9.2 IP nearly two years ago to the date vs. Minot State (Apr. 17).