Twenge, Wehrli lead UND to doubleheader split
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Matt Wehrli hit a pair of homers and Alex Twenge threw eight solid innings to lead UND to a 6-4 win over visiting New Jersey Institute of Technology Saturday in the back end of a doubleheader at Kraft Field. The Highlanders hung on for a 7-6 win in the opener after leading by five at one point.
The Highlanders showed little ill effects from Friday's 20-run loss, pounding out four doubles in the first inning to quickly grab a 4-0 advantage. UND threatened in the bottom of the frame, leaving a pair in scoring position but got just one run on Taylor Petersen's RBI groundout.
NJIT (18-28, 10-12 GWC) eventually ran its lead to 7-2 in the third inning and held on through a four-run fifth for North Dakota. UND (19-19-1, 9-10 GWC) posted five hits in that frame with three straight RBI hits from Zack Trygstad, Jeff Campbell and Tyler Follis.
In the seventh and final inning, Patrick Riewer singled through the left side and was ruled out on a steal attempt of second for the final out of the game.
Brock Johnson, after a sharp outing for a win in relief Tuesday against South Dakota State, had another solid line, allowing just two hits in three innings of work out of the bullpen without surrendering a run.
Patrick Vandoorne, Ryan Reese and Jacob Threlkeld each recorded a pair of hits in the opener.
NJIT again took the lead in the first inning as a leadoff double came around to score. UND countered with runs in each of the second through fifth innings with homers in the first three of those frames.
The first came off the bat of Reese, who laced a laser to centerfield that got past the outstretched arms of the Highlander centerfielder and Reese raced all the way around for an inside-the-park homerun. Matt Wehrli became the second straight North Dakota player to post their first homer in a UND uniform when he poked a deep shot to left over the wall and followed with his second an inning later for a 5-1 UND advantage.
The lead grew to 6-1 in the fifth on a Petersen sacrifice fly which looked to be plenty for Twenge, who had settled in nicely. Since the third, Twenge had allowed just a walk and had two outs in the seventh protecting that five-run cushion. Nick Swim hit a towering ball to centerfield that sliced in the incessant win that pummeled Kraft Field all day. It landed for a double and instead of being out of the inning, Twenge had to continue to battle.
A single and a two-run homer gave NJIT three runs and some confidence but after a flyout to left to end the inning and a 1-2-3 eighth, Twenge left things in the hands of the bullpen. Lefty Reid Jungling came on to retire the leadoff hitter, then Riewer-- with the go-ahead run at the plate-- got a strikeout and a groundout to earn his third save of the season.
It also made a winner of Twenge, who garnered his team-leading sixth win of the season. He threw a gutsy 132 pitches Saturday, allowing four runs on six hits with six Ks and one walk. The win put him in the top 10 all-time at UND for wins in a season as he's now tied for seventh place with his six victories in 2013.
Wehrli finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of homers while Threlkeld added two more hits to extend his hitting streak to a team season-best 13 straight.
The teams conclude the series Sunday with a single game slated for noon at Kraft Field.
Notes: UND matched last year's win total in 17 fewer games ... Senior Kris Kwak missed his first games of the season after sustaining a hand injury in pregame batting practice ... Reese and Threlkeld each have 11 multi-hit games to lead the team ... North Dakota is 7-2 this season when Twenge starts.