Late rally falls shy in Great West semis
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
UNC (33-23) led throughout, scoring a pair in the second and one in the fifth before pouring on five in the sixth and three more in the eighth to build an 11-2 cushion. UND (25-22-1) had scored just a pair of runs in the fifth inning but began to mount a comeback.
That fifth inning started with a double from Patrick Riewer and an RBI single by Luis Calvo, who made his first start of the tournament. After the first of three Patrick Vandoorne walks on the night, Tyler Follis singled up-the-middle to plate the second UND run and close the deficit to 3-2 at that point.
Northern Colorado then blew it wide open with a five-run sixth. The scoring ended with back-to-back homers from Great West Player of the Year Jensen Park and Nick Miller to make it 8-2. UNC addded a three-spot two frames later when Park and Miller again teamed to go back-to-back, this time with run-scoring doubles and the Bears enjoyed an 11-2 advantage heading to the bottom of the eighth.
UNC reliever Josh Wagner was greeted with homers in his first two batters faced in the eighth as Taylor Petersen went deep to left field and Zack Trysgtad followed with a towering shot to right field. UND made it interesting in the ninth when Vandoorne started a string of five straight batters reaching base. Follis' come-backer scored the first run then Petersen roped a single back through the box for two more UND runs and an 11-7 deficit. Trygstad then double to right-center, plating Petersen with just one out and the tying run reached the on-deck circle. Wagner was able to induce a groundout and got a strikeout to end the threat, however, and Northern Colorado avenged an earlier 11-3 loss to UND in day two of this tournament.
Trygstad finished a triple shy of the cycle and Threlkeld also had three hits for North Dakota. Vandoorne reached in all four trips with three walks and a single. Tyler Ruemmele took the loss, throwing 5.2 innings with four earned runs, two strikeouts and a walk scattering nine hits. Reid Jungling, who threw in all four games of the tournament, pitched the final 3.1 innings allowing a pair of earned runs on five hits.
UNC now advances to Saturday's championship where it will take on third-seed Houston Baptist. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m. local with an if necessary game to immediately follow.