UND Baseball goes undefeated against in-state rivals, capped by home victory on rain-soaked Kraft Field


David L. Dodds

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UND Baseball goes undefeated against in-state rivals, capped by home victory on rain-soaked Kraft Field

Brooms and umbrellas were the order of the day Wednesday as the University of North Dakota Baseball team used the long ball to cap a season sweep of its in-state rivals to the south at Kraft Field in Grand Forks.

After a 20-minute rain delay, about a 150 people were treated to another classic diamond dual and another one-run victory (3-2) by the Green and White over the Bison of North Dakota State. Last week, UND defeated NDSU in Fargo 4-3. Wednesday's baseball game also sealed a sweep by UND in all sports that it faced NDSU in the 2013-14 athletic season, including volleyball, soccer, and men's and women's basketball.

The game also was dedicated to the fight against cancer as fans enjoyed free admission to the game and free food and beverages at the Cope Well Foundation tent. The Cope Well Foundation is a local, nonprofit organization with two missions: 1) Help those affected by cancer overcome the emotional challenges of cancer survivorship and 2) Bring awareness to ALL survivors of ALL cancer types.

After a scoreless first inning, NDSU pounced on UND with two runs in the top of the second to stake out an early lead, just as they had done a week earlier in Fargo when the two teams met. In the next inning, UND catcher Taylor Peterson, senior, Atltantic, Iowa, crushed a fast ball into the gray overcast sky and over the left field fence to cut the deficit in two. It was Peterson's third homer of the year.

Then, in the fourth inning, second baseman Daniel Lockhert, sophomore, Kennett, Mo., launched one of his own that barely evaded the outstretched glove of NDSU outfielder Ben Peterson. That homerun, Lockhert's first of the season, also scored base runner Sam Alt, junior, Lino Lakes, Minn., to put UND up by one run. That's all the offense UND would need to snag victory.

Despite 2 fielding errors, UND's defensive effort was equally solid, highlighted by a couple of nice plays by UND shortstop Tyler Follis, junior, Bemidji, Minn. In one instance, Follis dove to his right to snag a bullet of a liner to end the fifth inning, stranding two NDSU base runners. Later, Follis used all of his 6'2" frame to leap and snatch a zinger that was headed to deep center.

UND pitchers platooned to support the come-from-behind effort ? the second in as many weeks against NDSU. UND starter Tyler Ruemmele, junior, Eden Prairie, Minn., got things rolling, until he was relieved by freshman and North Dakota native Ellery Bresnahan, Casselton, who got the victory. Brock Johnson, junior, Detroit Lakes, Minn., also made a strong relief appearance, followed by junior Jeff Campbell, Clearwater, Fla., in a save situation the final frame to nail down the win.

The vast majority of fans braved the elements from first pitch to final out, as the game wasn't decided until NDSU slugger Kevin Kleinendorst, who leads NDSU in homeruns, struck out with three successive big swings toward the fences. With one runner on base, a Kleinendorst blast could very well have led to a walk-off win for the Bison, or at the very least, extra innings.

But Campbell stood strong and delivered his pitches with confidence and authority, sending UND fans home with smiles on their faces, albeit a bit damp.

They weren't complaining.

David Dodds University & Public Affairs writer

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