GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Clutch hitting and strong starting pitching carried North Dakota to a pair of walk-off 3-2 victories over Minot State in a Tuesday doubleheader at Kraft Field. The Fighting Sioux (4-26) got a game-winning double from Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) in game one and a game-winning single in the night cap from Kris Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) as the team snapped a 14-game losing streak.
“The way we have been losing games lately, it was nice to come back in both games to get walk-off wins,” UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. “Tyler and Kris were the guys we wanted at the plate in those situations with the way they have been swinging the bat, but I thought the real story was our starting pitching.
“Kevin (Auth) and Andrew (Thome) were great in game one and Trent (Egan) went into the 10th inning in game two and Alex (Twenge) got a big out to give us a chance in the bottom half.”
Follis finished the day 4-for-7 at the plate and also had the game-tying hit in the bottom of the ninth when the Sioux were down to their last out trailing 2-1. Kwak had three hits in the night cap to pace an 11-hit attack in that contest.
Game one – UND 3, Minot State 2
Follis broke a 2-2 tie by lacing a double to the right-center gap that scored Kwak, who drew a two-out walk off Minot State starter Cole Stober. The Beavers’ right-hander had held UND hitless since a second-inning single by Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) before Follis drove a fastball to the right-center gap for his team-leading seventh double of the season.
The Sioux had three of their five hits in the first inning as Follis started that rally with a bunt single. Freshmen Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) and Sam Alt (Lino Lakes, Minn.) followed with run-scoring singles to put UND ahead 2-1.
The Beavers took the early lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Mike Turcotte. Left fielder Andrew Roach then drew the visitors even at 2-2 with a RBI single in the fourth.
UND starter Kevin Auth (Cambridge, Minn.) lasted 6.1 innings in the contest, allowing only two earned runs on seven hits. He did not factor in the decision as freshman Andrew Thome (St. Cloud, Minn.) got the final two outs of the seventh to give Follis the chance for his heroics. Thome’s win was the first of his career as he worked two-thirds of an inning.
Rigthfielder Jordan Gilmour had a game-high three hits for the Beavers in the opener.
Game two – UND 3, Minot State 2 (10 innings)
Left-hander Trent Egan (Valley City, N.D.) overcame a bout of wildness in the first inning to keep his team within striking distance of the Beavers. Egan walked in a run after his fourth walk of the opening frame, but would go onto to allow only one more run on four hits over the next 8.2 innings.
Three of those hits came in the fourth inning when Minot State pulled ahead 2-0. Egan would surrender his last hit of the game in the fifth on a two-out single to Connor Moughtin.
Campbell finally gave Egan a little offensive support after mashing a RBI-triple of the right-centerfield wall to make it a 2-1 contest in the sixth.
Minot State starter Austin Zorn gave the visitors another solid start as well, allowing only that one run on five hits in seven innings of work.
Freshman Tyler Ruemmele ignited the ninth-inning rally that saw Follis come through with his second clutch hit of the doubleheader. Ruemmele made a terrific slide to score the tying run after Follis when through the left side of the infield for the game-tying hit.
MSU reliever Jamin Heller was able to force extra innings by getting Zack Trygstad (Wayzata, Minn.) to fly out with the bases loaded.
Egan went to the mound to start the 10th inning and got two outs before issuing a walk to Scott Peters. Dodson went to his bullpen for right-hander Alex Twenge (Minnetonka, Minn.) and on one pitch the freshman got Moughtin to fly out to centerfield on a great diving catch by Beck.
Beck extended the 10th inning, setting the stage for Kwak by beating out an infield single to load the bases. Kwak provided the game-winning hit with a sharp single down the right field line scoring senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.).
Twenge (1-1) picked up his first collegiate win by recording the last out of the 10th. Sidewinder Joel Peterman (0-4) took the loss for the Beavers.
The Sioux will play a single game at South Dakota State on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
– UND –