MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team needed to split with rival Mount Marty College Saturday night to earn a spot in the Great Plains Athletic Conference postseason tournament, and the Tigers game through.
DWU beat the Lancers 4-2 in the first game before falling 7-3 in the second Saturday at Cadwell Park to earn the eighth seed in the league’s postseason tournament. The Tigers end the regular season 22-24 overall and 9-11 in the league. They play top-seeded Northwestern College at 9 a.m. Thursday on Duncan Field in Hastings, Neb., to open the tournament.
The Lancers – the tournament’s fourth seed – got on the board first in the first game Saturday night on an RBI single in the top of the third inning. DWU took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning on a three-run home run by Michael Lukkason – his fourth homer of the week. Mount Marty got within one in the fourth on an RBI groundout, but DWU added some insurance in the fifth when Tim Cusick hit into an RBI groundout.
Nick Tadlock had two hits for the Tigers, but Lukkason went 1-for-1 with three RBIs. Kyle Larson threw all seven innings and gave up two runs on just five hits. He struck out four batters.
In the second game the Lancers struck first again – this time on an RBI sac fly in the first – but this time they stayed on top. Mount Marty added three runs in the second on an RBI sac bunt, an RBI single and an RBI double, and made it 7-0 in the fourth on an RBI single, an RBI sac fly and a DWU error.
The Tigers were scoreless until the seventh when Erik Nockleby doubled and Toby Kaplan singled to start the inning, and Tyler Waddle sent in a run on an RBI single to break up the shutout. Lukkason hit a two-run single to make it 7-3, and that’s where DWU’s run ended.
Lukkason went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Nockleby and Waddle each had two hits for the Tigers, who had nine total hits. Matt Mundfrom threw the first 4.2 innings and took the loss after giving up seven runs on nine hits with three strikeouts. Shaun Dean threw the final 2.1 innings and gave up two hits and struck out one.
DWU played a nonconference nine-inning game with Dakota State Friday night and lost 18-14 in 11 innings. The Tigers led 7-1 after five innings and 9-2 after six, but the Trojans scored seven times in the seventh inning to make it a 9-8 game. Sam Schumacher hit a three-run homer as part of a four-run seventh to put DWU up 13-9, but the Trojans added five more runs in the eighth to go up 14-13. The Tigers tied the game on an RBI single by Neil Nagle in the bottom of the ninth, and both teams were scoreless in the 10th, but Dakota State scored four unanswered runs in the 11th to come away with the win.
DWU had 25 hits and Dakota State had 15 Friday. Lukkason went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, Nockleby was 5-for-7 with three RBIs and Kirk McBreen went 4-for-6 with one RBI. Kevin Hatcher threw the first 6.1 innings and gave up five runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. Lucas Schultz, Josh Wagner, Nick Pecha and Logan Risse each threw a part of an inning, and Darin Hager was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on four hits in 1.1 innings of work. Mickey Grant threw the final two outs.