Tiger baseball splits with Dordt

Michael Lukkason from DWU.

Michael Lukkason

Shaun Dean from DWU.

Shaun Dean

Toby Kaplan from DWU.

Toby Kaplan

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team started its busy weekend with a split against Dordt College Thursday in a Great Plains Athletic Conference doubleheader in Sioux Center, Iowa. The Tigers won the first game 9-5 behind a big day at the plate by Michael Lukkason, but lost game two 8-6.

DWU is now 8-10 and tied for sixth in the GPAC with one conference doubleheader left to play. Northwestern College clinched at least a share of the league’s regular-season title earlier this week, and also earned an automatic berth to the NAIA national tournament.

In Thursday’s first game, DWU went up 2-0 in the first inning on a two-run homer by Lukkason, but Dordt answered with four runs on five hits and two Tiger errors in the bottom of the inning. The Tigers answered with four more runs in the second to get up 6-4. Erick Nockleby walked and scored on an error by the pitcher, Toby Kaplan and Cole Wenande each had an RBI single and Lukkason hit into an RBI fielder’s choice. DWU added two more runs in the fourth on another two-run homer by Lukkason. Dordt scored once in the fifth, but the Tigers answered with one run in the sixth on a solo homer by Lukkason.

Lukkason went 3-for-4 with six RBIs and three homers to pace DWU, which had eight total hits. Nick Pecha threw the first two-thirds of an inning and gave up four runs on five hits. Shaun Dean threw the next 5.1 innings and earned the win after giving up one run on seven hits with two strikeouts. Josh Wagner threw the final inning.

In the second game of the day, the Tigers went up 2-0 in the first inning on RBI singles by Lukkason and Nick Tadlock, and took a 3-0 lead after two when Kirk McBreen sent in a run on an RBI fielder’s choice. Dordt made it a one-run game with two runs in the third, but DWU extended its lead to 5-2 in the fourth on a two-run homer by Kaplan. Dordt, however, went up 6-5 with four runs on five hits in the fourth. DWU tied the game in the fifth on an RBI single by Nockleby, but the Defenders scored once in the bottom of the inning and once in the sixth to hold on for the win.

Lukkason went 3-for-4 to pace DWU, which had 10 total hits. He and Tim Cusick doubled and Kaplan had a home run. Chris Housley threw the first 3.1 innings and gave up six runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. Pecha threw two-thirds of an inning and gave up a single hit, and Zac Custer was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs on two hits with three strikeouts in the final two innings.

DWU is at home for the first time since April 7 on Friday, April 26 when it hosts Dakota State in a nine-inning nonconference game at 6 p.m. at Drake Field. The Tigers wrap up the regular season Saturday, April 27, when they host Mount Marty starting at 5 p.m.