MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team is on a five-game winning streak following a pair of sweeps and a split over the weekend. The Tigers started their Great Plains Athletic Conference season by splitting with Briar Cliff University Thursday, swept Presentation College in a nonconference doubleheader Friday and swept Morningside College in dramatic fashion Saturday.
Dakota Wesleyan is now 15-12 overall and 3-1 in the GPAC. The Tigers try to keep their winning streak alive Wednesday, April 3, when they host Mayville State University – which is receiving votes in the NAIA – in a nonconference doubleheader at 1 p.m.
The Tigers started the weekend Thursday with a conference split with BCU. The Chargers won the first game 3-0, but DWU bounced back with a 6-1 win in the second game. The first game was scoreless until the fifth when the Chargers scored three runs on three hits. The Tigers had just two hits. Matt Mundfrom threw all seven innings and took the loss. He gave up three runs and struck out four batters.
In the second game, DWU got on the board on an RBI groundout by Tim Cusick in the first, and the Tigers added two runs in the third on a two-run single by Michael Lukkason. DWU added another run in the fourth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Kirk McBreen. The Chargers broke up the shutout in the sixth when they scored on an RBI groundout, but the Tigers added two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI sac fly by Neil Nagle and an RBI groundout by McBreen. Toby Kaplan had two of the Tigers’ six hits and Lukkason had two RBIs. Chris Housley gave up one run and just four hits while striking out five to earn the win on the mound.
DWU started Friday’s nonconference doubleheader with a 5-0 shutout of Presentation and completed the sweep with a 3-2 win in the nightcap. The Tigers scored three runs in the second inning of the first game on RBI singles by Nagle, Christian Doyle and McBreen, and added two more runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Erik Nockleby and an RBI single by Doyle. Doyle had two hits and two RBIs for DWU and Nockleby had two hits for the Tigers, which had eight total hits. Luke Bamberg threw the first five innings and struck out six and earned the win. Shaun Dean threw one inning and struck out two batters and Josh Wagner threw the final inning in relief.
In the second game of the day, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Lukkason, but the Saints took a 2-1 lead in the third on an RBI double and an RBI single. Dakota Wesleyan took the lead for good in the fourth on an RBI double by Nick Tadlock and an RBI single by Kaplan. DWU had five total hits and Lucas Schultz picked up the win after giving up two runs on three hits and striking out two in five innings of work. Logan Risse threw one inning and Nick Pecha drew three groundouts in the seventh to earn the save.
Saturday night, the Tigers persevered through wet field conditions and a rain delay to pick up a league sweep of Morningside. DWU took advantage of six Mustang errors to win the first game 6-4 and won 3-2 in 10 innings in the second. In the first game of the day, the Tigers used four Morningside errors and a single hit to score four runs in the third inning. Kaplan reached on an error and scored when McBreen reached on an error. McBreen advanced when Cole Wenande reached on an error and scored when Lukkason reached on another error. Tadlock hit a two-run single to complete the scoring for the inning.
The Mustangs added one run in the bottom of the inning, but DWU added two more runs in the fourth when Wenande hit an RBI single and McBreen stole home. Morningside added two runs in the fourth and one more in the sixth, but Housley gave up a single walk and drew three outs to help DWU preserve the win. DWU had seven hits and Tadlock had two RBIs. Kyle Larson struck out three and gave up three runs on four hits. Pecha gave up one run and five hits in three innings of work to earn the win and Housley earned the save.
In the nightcap, DWU went up 1-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Cusick but, after a long rain delay, the Mustangs tied the game in the sixth when Jordan Mouw scored on a throwing error. A solo homer by Tadlock put DWU up 2-1 in the top of the seventh, but an RBI double in the bottom of the inning tied the game and sent it to extra innings. Neither team could get their offense going in the eighth and ninth, but Toby Kaplan was hit by a pitch in the 10th, advanced on a sac bunt by Alex Hinz and then a passed ball, and came around to score on a sac fly by McBreen. Morningside had three straight fly outs in the bottom of the inning and DWU held on for the win.
Nockleby had two hits to pace the Tigers, who had just four total hits. Kevin Hatcher threw the first three innings and gave up no runs on no hits with three strikeouts. Dean gave up one run on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings, and Wagner threw two-thirds of an inning and gave up one run on one hit. Zac Custer threw 1.1 scoreless innings, and Mundfrom earned the win after striking out two and giving up a single hit in the final two innings.