The North Dakota baseball team belted five home runs to register a doubleheader sweep of Valley City State Wednesday at Kraft Field. The Sioux (7-28) took game one 7-6, then pounded the Vikings (11-31) 21-10 in game two thanks to four homers.
The 21 runs and 20 hits in the second game were both season highs as UND opened a 15-game homestand with a pair of wins over the Vikings.
"In game one, we were able to come up with some big hits late to win that game," UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. "I thought their guys fought hard and scrapped to stay in it, but we were able to hold on there at the end.
"Tyler Follis had a big day for us, especially there in game two with five hits. We hit the long ball some today as well. Maybe, we are getting things rolling offensively now and anytime you score 21 runs it gives your pitching staff a cushion to work with."
Follis went 5-for-5 in game two and finished the twin bill seven hits. The Bemidji, Minn., native's five hits were a career-high and equaled the single-game high for a Sioux player this season as he extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Classmate Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) belted two home runs in the night cap and also singled in the opener to push his hitting streak to 12 games.
Senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.) homered and drove in three runs in both games of the doubleheader. He was also hit by a pitch three times in game two to tie a school single-game record. Freshman Padraic Getchell (Stillwater, Minn.) hit the first grand slam of the season for UND during an eight-run fourth inning in the night cap. For Getchell, the home run was the first of his career as he finished with a season-high five RBI.
Game one - UND 7, Valley City State 6 (7)
Bolander provided the only home run for the Sioux in game one and it proved to be pivotal. Bolander's two-run blast in the sixth made it a 7-3 contest.
Senior Kevin Auth (Cambridge, Minn.) worked the first six innings as the only three runs he allowed were unearned. He earned the victory, but the Vikings made things interesting in the seventh. Reliever Alex Twenge (Minnetonka, Minn.) surrendered a three-run homer to VCSU's Scott Stephenson, which pulled the visitors to within a run, but the right-hander was able to strike out Kyle Skinner to end the game.
Getchell and junior Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) both had two-out RBI singles to put the home team ahead in the second after an error extended the inning. The Vikings would go on to make five errors in the opener.
VCSU was able to tie up at 3-3 in the top of the fourth with three unearned runs, but those would be the only tallies Auth (1-2) would allow as he picked up his first win of the season.
Follis doubled in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth and Getchell added a RBI on a fielder's choice in the fifth before Bolander pushed the lead to 7-3 in the sixth.
Game two - UND 21, Valley City State 10
UND scored runs in seven of its eight at-bats during the contest and Campbell posted the first multiple home run game of the season for the Sioux. Campbell's home runs were his team-leading fifth and sixth of the season as he finished with four RBI.
Campbell's first long ball of the game put UND on the board in the opening frame, then he added a two-run blast in the third.
A strong north wind wreaked havoc for the fielders all day and it proved costly for the Sioux in the top of the fourth. After Campbell helped put the home ahead 7-1 with a two-run shot in the bottom of the third, the Vikings stormed right back to tie things up with six runs in their next at-bat.
The Sioux responded with their highest-scoring inning of the season. UND plated eight runs with the big blast coming of Getchell's blast as he pelted a bases-clearing long ball over the left-field wall.
That big inning put the Sioux ahead for good as left-hander Chris Knoll (Minnetonka, Minn.) pitched four innings of relief to pick up his first collegiate win. Knoll (1-0) allowed six hits and three earned runs in his longest outing of the season.
Bolander extended UND's lead to double figures for the first time with a three-run homer in the sixth and the home team would tack on two more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Freshmen Brett DeGagne' (Sauk Rapids, Minn.) and Brock Johnson (Detroit Lakes, Minn.) both turned in scoreless innings of relief work to keep the Vikings off the board in the eighth and ninth innings.
Follis and Bolander both scored a season-high four runs in game two as six different Sioux players finished with multiple runs. Beck was 3-for-3 in stolen bases during the doubleheader and is now 9-for-9 on the season.
The Sioux continue their season-long 15-game homestand this weekend with a four-game Great West Conference series against Northern Colorado. Game one is set for Friday at 3 p.m.