Tigers still alive after two extra-inning games

Jonah Johnson from DWU.

Jonah Johnson

Zac Custer from DWU.

Zac Custer

HASTINGS, Neb. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team just wanted to keep playing Thursday afternoon.

The Tigers played two extra-inning games in the first day of the Great Plains Athletic Conference postseason tournament in Hastings, Neb. In its first game of the day, DWU – which earned the eighth seed – lost 4-3 on a walkoff home run to top-seeded Northwestern in eight innings, but the Tigers came back with a 4-3 win – this one in nine innings – to No. 4 Mount Marty College.

Dakota Wesleyan plays seventh-seeded Hastings in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 3.

DWU – which split with the Lancers to end the regular season on April 27 – got on the board first against Mount Marty when Cody Silveria and Toby Kaplan hit RBI singles in the second inning. Mount Marty tied the game in the sixth when it scored two runs on one hit and an error, but DWU took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Tim Cusick. The Tigers left three runners stranded that inning.

The Lancers tied the score right away in the seventh on an RBI single, and that’s where the score would stay until the bottom of the ninth inning. The Lancers stranded two runners in the top of the inning, but Tyler Waddle singled to start the ninth, then stole second and scored on an RBI walkoff single by Jonah Johnson.

Cusick and Silveria each had two hits for DWU, which had 10 total hits. Erik Nockleby doubled. Kevin Hatcher threw the first six innings and gave up two runs on four hits with one strikeout. Shaun Dean threw two-thirds of an inning, and Zac Custer threw the final 2.1 innings to earn the win. He gave up no runs on three hits with three strikeouts.

In the first game of the day, the Tigers led second-seeded Northwestern through five innings, but gave up an unearned run in the sixth and the Red Raiders pulled off the 4-3 win with a walkoff home run by Cody Groskreutz in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Red Raiders led 2-0 after scoring two runs on two hits and an error in the first inning, but the Tigers tied the game in the top of the seconds. Nick Tadlock doubled to start the inning and scored on an RBI single by Nockleby. Nockleby came around to score on an RBI double by Kaplan. Dakota Wesleyan took a 3-2 lead in the third when Kirk McBreen singled and scored on an RBI single by Cusick, and the Tigers held that lead until the sixth when Northwestern reached on an error and scored on an RBI triple.

Neither team scored in the seventh, and Cusick singled to start the first inning, but was stranded. Dean came in to pitch for Chris Housley in the eighth inning, and Groskreutz hit a solo shot to end the game.

McBreen, Cusick and Nockleby each had two hits for the Tigers, who had eight total hits. McBreen, Tadlock and Kaplan all had doubles. Housley threw the first seven innings and gave up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Dean took the loss.