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DWU baseball sweeps Saints

DWU’s Jonah Johnson dives back into first base during the bottom of the first inning in the second game of a doubleheader against Presentation College Wednesday at Drake Field in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

All nine players in the Dakota Wesleyan University baseball lineup reached base in the first inning of its home opener against Presentation College Wednesday at Drake Field in Mitchell.

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The Tigers got nine runs in that opening inning, and rode that momentum to a sweep over the Saints 17-4, 4-0.

“We needed to play a clean game all the way around and I think we did that,” DWU baseball coach Steve Gust said. “For a young team to have that type of effort, I am pretty pleased. We couldn’t have asked for much more heading into our conference schedule.”

DWU cranked out 12 hits in the first game behind the bats of third baseman Sam Schumacher, shortstop Ben Spitznagel and first baseman Neil Nagle.

Schumacher was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Spitznagel and Nagle were each 2-for-3 with three RBIs for Wesleyan.

Dustin Steckler got the win on the mound after he threw 1.1 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits.

While the DWU bats roared in the first game, it was the Tiger pitching that took center stage in the second game.

Five Tigers toed the rubber in the second game. Starter Kevin Hatcher earned the win after throwing three no-hit innings. Relievers Patrick Whetham, Darin Hager and Shaun Dean did not allow the Saints a run, either. Presentation finished the game with two hits.

“I think it was a good performance from the pitching, to the hitting, to the base running and the defense,” Gust said. “It was what we were hoping for heading into the conference opener. We didn’t allow too many runs. It was just a good overall effort from all of our guys.” The Tigers (14-8) hit the field next against Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.