CONWAY, Ark.-- North Dakota finally opened its 2014 schedule Friday with a pair of games at Central Arkansas. UND fell 6-1 in the opener against the host school and dropped a 5-1 decision to Illinois State in the nightcap.
"The guys played hard today," UND head baseball coach Jeff Dodson said. "We gave up some unearned runs and we took ourselves out of some innings on the basepaths today. It was our first time being on the field for the first time this spring and we need to have a quick leaning curve. I was impressed with our pitching staff and our bullpen was good in key spots. We just didn't come up big in the clutch."
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 6, UND 1
Junior Jeff Campbell slammed a solo homer in the fourth inning but it would be all North Dakota (0-2) could score in the season opener at Central Arkansas (5-2) Friday afternoon.
Campbell homered to lead off the top of the fourth to get UND back with two at 3-1. UCA answered with a run in the bottom of that frame and tacked on two more in the fifth to provide the winning total.
Andrew Thome was saddled with the loss, throwing 4.2 innings, allowing three earned runs but uncharacteristically issuing seven free passes without a strikeout. He allowed just five hits before surrendering the ball to Tyler Ruemmele, who worked around six hits over his three innings without allowing a run. Chris Knoll struck out the only batter he faced.
UND's offense was led by Ryan Reese, who notched a pair of hits in game one. Tyler Follis, Dalton Parrott, Zack Trygstad, Patrick Riewer and Campbell each tallied a hit.
ILLINOIS STATE 5, UND 1
Junior Alex Twenge twirled 6.2 innings allowing just four hits but couldn't get out of the seventh inning. The redbirds capitalized, scoring a pair in that frame to take a 4-0 lead.
UND would get its run in the bottom of the eighth when Taylor Petersen rapped a one-out double and came around on an infield error for a 4-1 score. ISU (4-4) added another run in the ninth and UND's rally with two runners aboard in the final inning fell short.
Tyler Follis and Petersen each had two hits in game two while Luis Calvo added another. Reid Jungling threw two innings allowing one run in relief while AJ Anderson struck out the only batter he faced.
North Dakota will face both squads again tomorrow with first pitch coming at 11:00 a.m. Central.