Baseball suffers first home loss
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Behind a complete-game, 135-pitch shutout by starter Will Dennis, visiting Seattle University defeated host North Dakota, 7-0, at Kraft Memorial Field Saturday afternoon in Western Athletic Conference play. SU evened the series at a game apiece and pulled back into a tie for third place with UND in the jam-packed WAC standings.
"Today we got beat, we didn't give the game away, we didn't get outplayed or out-hustled-- we just got beat," UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. "A loss in this fashion is somethind you can rebound from easier. A win tomorrow will give us the series and that's what we look to do every weekend."
The submarining lefthander was able to go the distance and was the benefactor of some hard-hit balls right at defenders. He had a pair of bases-loaded jams to work through and did so to hand North Dakota its first shutout since March 8.
Seattle took an early lead after getting a single on the first pitch of the afternoon followed by a stolen base, a balk and an RBI groundout. A second run plated on a double to left-center by Cullen Hendrickson, one of his five hits in the series thus far.
UND's best threat came in the second inning when Jeff Campbell punched a one-out single through the middle, one of his three hits on the afternoon. Ryan Reese was hit by a pitch and Dalton Parrott singled to load the bases. Luis Calvo stung a ball hard to left field but it was right at leftfielder Sam Finfer and a strikeout finished the inning unscathed.
Singles in the third and fourth didn't produce runs and Dennis would set down 12 of the next 13 North Dakota batters to take a 4-0 lead into the eighth inning. A Patrick Riewer single in the eighth finally broke the string, but Seattle went into the final inning with a four-run lead.
In the ninth, the Redhawks tacked-on three more insurance runs on a sacrifice fly and a two-run homer by Hendrickson, his second in as many days.
UND loaded the bases once again in the ninth as singles by Campbell and Parrott book-ended a Reese hit by pitch. Dennis induced a pair of grounders to end the game to set-up a Sunday rubber match for a key game with tie-breaker implications.
Campbell had three hits to pace UND's offense with Riewer and Parrott each chipping in two for all of North Dakota's seven hits. Zach Muckenhirn took the loss, throwing 6.2 innings, scattering nine hits with four runs, three walks and three strikeouts.
Sunday's finale has been moved ahead 90 minutes to 11:30 a.m. at Kraft Field.