Northwestern ends DWU’s season with a walk-offNorthwestern put Dakota Wesleyan between a rock and a hard place in its first game of the tournament, winning a pitcher’s duel with a walk-off home run Thursday morning. Friday night, the Red Raiders ended DWU’s season with another walk-off. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Taylor Morris hit a long fly ball over the center fielder’s head to score the winning run for Northwestern in its 14-13 win over the Tigers at the Great Plains Athletic Conference baseball tournament at Cadwell Park.
Northwestern put Dakota Wesleyan between a rock and a hard place in its first game of the tournament, winning a pitcher’s duel with a walk-off home run Thursday morning.
Friday night, the Red Raiders ended DWU’s season with another walk-off.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Taylor Morris hit a long fly ball over the center fielder’s head to score the winning run for Northwestern in its 14-13 win over the Tigers at the Great Plains Athletic Conference baseball tournament at Cadwell Park.
“It’s a real hard way to lose the year, but we can take some consolation in the fact that we left it all on the field,” DWU coach Steve Gust said. “We played hard and it meant a lot to the guys. No regrets.”
Northwestern, the No. 6 seed, is the only undefeated team left in the tournament and advances to today’s 11 a.m. championship game where it will take on No. 7 Hastings College.
DWU held an 8-3 lead after the top of the third inning, and made it a 9-5 game in the fourth. Northwestern scored five runs on six hits in the sixth to grab a 10-9 lead and then added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 13-11 lead.
The Tigers were held scoreless in the eighth, but Mario Mendoza reached on an error and advanced to second to score Casey Solem and John Greicar and tie the game in the top of the ninth.
“There was no quitting, that’s for sure,” Gust said. “I don’t know if I’ve had a team that played as hard as this one. Playing for DWU meant something for them.”
DWU reliever Thomas Pickett got Brad Payne to strike out to start the bottom of the inning, but Curtis Bomgaars reached when Shaun Petersen misplayed a routine fly ball and Clint Gingerich singled to center to advance Bomgaars to third.
Chuck Stith was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting Morris up for the game-winning hit.
Pickett, who also gave up the walk-off homer on Thursday, was tagged with the loss. Five other DWU pitchers saw time on the mound, including Matt Luckey, who threw the first four innings and gave up five runs on six hits with three strikeouts.
Greicar finished 4-for-6 with three RBIs and Solem was 3-for-6. Nick Loera had one hit and three RBIs.
Northwestern and the Tigers combined for 27 runs and 34 hits in the three-and-a-half hour marathon that saw two DWU players get ejected.
The Tigers made it to Friday’s night game by winning a slugfest Friday morning, this one against Mount Marty.
The two teams combined for seven home runs — all over the left-field fence thanks to some 40 mph wind gusts — along with 35 hits and 27 runs in the three-hour game that DWU won, 16-11.
Neither team was able to hold onto a lead early in the game. The Lancers went up 2-0 in the first inning, but Solem hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
The Tigers grabbed a 7-3 lead in the third thanks to a three-run homer by Solem and a two-run double by Ryan Santiago, but Mount Marty went up 10-7 after a seven-run fourth.
Josh Wenande had an RBI single, Jason Schmidt hit a two-run double and Josh Damewood had a three-run homer to highlight the inning.
DWU answered in the bottom of the inning when Solem hit his third homer of the game — this one a two-run shot — and Loera added a solo homer.
Schmidt had a solo home run in the sixth to give the Lancers an 11-10 lead, but DWU took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning after Jake Broscha took the mound for Trey Krier. Greicar had an RBI double and Loera hit a two-run single to get the inning going, and Santiago, who stole home in DWU’s 8-7 win over Sioux Falls Thursday, hit a two-run single for all the insurance the Tigers would need.
Krier threw the first five innings and gave up 10 runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Broscha took the loss after giving up six runs on six hits.
Ryan Clark picked up the win after giving up one run on four hits in 2.2 innings of work. Tyler Earls threw the first 3.1 innings and gave up six runs on nine hits and Jeff Sanchez tossed two-thirds of an inning and gave up four runs on three hits.
Solem finished 4-for-4 with seven RBIs, four runs scored and an intentional walk. Greicar was 3-for-4 with five runs scored, Loera was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Santiago was 2-for-5 with four RBIs.
Schmidt finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs and Wenande was 3-for-6.