CHICAGO – The North Dakota baseball team wrapped up its regular season in an emphatic way, posting a 20-8 victory over Chicago State on Saturday at Brooks Field. The victory clinched the No. 6 seed for UND (17-35, 10-18 GWC) at the upcoming Great West Conference Tournament as the Sioux took 3-of-4 from the Cougars (12-38, 9-19 GWC) this weekend to earn a series win in the Windy City.
UND will take on No. 3 seed NJIT (25-25, 16-12) in the opening game of the tournament on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT. The Highlanders swept NYIT in their series this weekend to move up the standings.
Junior Kris Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) and freshman Sam Alt (Lino Lakes, Minn.) both drove in five runs as the Sioux equaled their most runs scored in a Great West Conference game (20-19 victory over NYIT, 4/24/10). Alt and classmate Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) also had four hits apiece to lead a 20-hit attack by the visitors.
“We had a big offensive day,” UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. “We had several guys with multiple hits and are really swinging the bats well going into the (Great West) tournament. We have to take this momentum with us to Utah and see if we can keep it going out there.”
The Sioux jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first on a RBI-single from senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.) and a two-run double from Alt, but the Cougars responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Two of those runs for the home team came on the only error of the game by the UND defense.
Campbell broke the tie in the second with a RBI-single and the Sioux scored five unearned runs in the third to push their advantage to 9-3. The Cougarsm, who finished with five fielding errors, chipped away at the deficit with their bats once again, this time earning three runs in the bottom of the third on four base hits.
Another tally by the home team made it a 9-7 contest moving to the top of the fifth, but the Sioux once again had a response and would never relinquish the lead.
After a sacrifice fly by freshman Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) in the fifth made it 10-7, UND used six hits in the sixth to plate four more runs to double up the Cougars at 14-7.
Alt added his second two-run double of the game in the seventh before Kwak and Bolander both homered in a four-run eighth inning.
The Cougars scored one last run off Sioux starter Brock Johnson (Detroit Lakes, Minn.) in the seventh. But, the right-hander worked a season-high 6.2 innings to earn his second win of the season.
Kwak’s multiple-homer game was the first of his career as he extended his hitting streak to a season-long nine games. He also scored a season-high four runs in the contest as he went 9-for-16 (.563).
Bolander’s home run was his ninth of the season as he finished 2-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI. Campbell also scored three runs and had three RBI as he doubled twice to equal his season-high of four hits.
– UND –