Tigers split four games at Metrodome

Chris Housley from DWU.

Chris Housley

 Michael Lukkason from DWU.

Michael Lukkason

Matt Mundfrom from DWU.

Matt Mundfrom

Erik Nockleby from DWU.

Erik Nockleby

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team swept and got swept over the weekend in a pair of doubleheaders at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The Tigers lost twice to Dickinson State University Friday afternoon, but came back and swept the Bluehawks in a second doubleheader Saturday morning.

DWU lost 5-4 and 6-5 Friday before coming back to win 3-0 and 8-1 Saturday morning.

Friday, Dakota Wesleyan (2-6) led or had the game tied heading into the bottom of the final inning, but Dickinson State found a way to win in both games. In the first game of the day, the Tigers got on the board first when Erik Nockleby tripled and scored on a sac fly by Toby Kaplan in the second inning. Dickinson took a 2-1 lead in the third, but DWU scored in the fifth on an RBI double by Tim Cusick, the sixth on an RBI single by Sam Schumacher and seventh on an RBI double by Nick Tadlock to go up 4-2 heading into the bottom of the inning.

The first Bluehawk batter walked, the second flied out to right field and the third singled to put runners at first and second. Jordan Tescher singled for Dickinson and all three runs scored on a throwing error by Dakota Wesleyan to give Dickinson the 5-4 win.

Nockleby finished 2-for-4 with a double and a triple for DWU. Cusick also doubled and tripled, and Tadlock and Michael Lukkason both had doubles. Kyle Larson threw the first five innings and gave up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Nate Everett threw one inning and gave up a single run, and Zac Custer threw the final inning.

In the second game of the day Friday, Dickinson used four hits and a Tiger error to score three runs. Dakota Wesleyan got within one, 3-2, on a two-run single by Nockleby in the fourth, but Dickinson added a single run in both the fourth and fifth innings to go up 5-2. The Tigers tied the score with a three-run seventh in the top of the inning. Nockleby was hit by a pitch and Tadlock reached on an error to start, and both scored on a passed ball and an error by the catcher to make it 5-4.

Cody Silveria singled, and Jonah Johnson – running for Silveria – advanced on a passed ball and scored to tie the game when the first baseman committed an error on a hit by Kirk McBreen. In the bottom of the inning, however, John Binstock singled to start the inning, but the Tigers recorded the next two outs. The next batter reached, and Binstock advanced and stole third, and eventually scored on a walkoff RBI single by Ryan Risse.

Cole Wenande had two hits for the Tigers and Lukkason doubled. Nick Pecha threw the first 3.1 innings and gave up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Kevin Hatcher threw two-thirds of an inning, and Dustin Steckler threw the final 2.2 innings and took the loss. He gave up one run on two hits with three strikeouts.

Saturday morning, the Tigers picked up their first win of the season behind a solid pitching performance from Chris Housley. Housley threw a complete game shutout and gave up just three hits while striking out eight batters in DWU’s 3-0 win.

DWU scored all the runs it would need in the second when Tadlock doubled and Nockleby singled to start the inning. Silveria grounded out, but advanced both runners, and Tadlock scored on an RBI groundout by Toby Kaplan. Nockleby scored later in the inning on a passed ball to put DWU up 2-0. The Tigers added one more run in the fifth when Anthony Pakutka – running for Christian Doyle, who reached on an error – scored on an RBI single by Lukkason.

Lukkason had two hits to pace DWU, which had six total hits. Tadlock doubled.

In the final game of the weekend, DWU gave up a single run on catcher’s interference in its 8-1 win. The Tigers scored three runs in the first on an RBI fielder’s choice by Cusick and a two-run single by Nockleby. They added two more runs in the second on an RBI double by Lukkason and a one-run single by Cusick, and added one more in the third on an RBI single by Schumacher. Dickinson scored its lone run of the game on catcher’s interference with bases loaded in the sixth, but the Tigers added two more runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Tadlock and a one-run double by Alex Hinz.

Nockleby had two hits and two RBIs and Cusick had one hit and two RBIs for the Tigers. Matt Mundfrom threw the first 5.1 innings and earned the win. He gave up one run on three hits and struck out eight. Josh Wagner struck out two batters in 1.1 innings of work, and Shaun Dean recorded the final out of the game.

Dakota Wesleyan returns to action Sunday, March 3, when it starts its spring break trip with a doubleheader against Northern State University in Tucson, Ariz. The Tigers play 10 games in seven games on the trip.