FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- The North Dakota State baseball team scored 15 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Western Illinois Saturday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field. NDSU took the first game 7-1 before holding on for an 8-7 win in the nightcap.
It was a key pair of wins for the Bison, as NDSU now holds the tiebreaker with the Leathernecks having won four of the six meetings this season. The two teams are now tied for fourth in the league standings with nine league games to play for both teams. The Bison improved to 13-20 overall and 10-11 in league play with the victories, while the Leathernecks dropped to 16-25 overall and 10-11 in the Summit League.
Sean Noel started the scoring in the first game with an RBI single to center field that drove in Bennett Hostetler in the first inning. Western Illinois tied the game with an RBI single in the third inning, but it would be the only run of the game for the Leathernecks. NDSU added another run in the fourth inning, as Jack Simonsen singled to right center to bring in Brock Anderson. The Bison put up five runs in the fifth inning, starting with an RBI single up the middle by Noel to bring in Hostetler. Tucker Rohde then singled with two outs up the middle to plate Noel. Carter Thompson drove a pitch to left field to bring in Simonsen for the final run of the inning.
In the seventh inning, Simonsen singled to right field to plate Anderson. The final run of the game came in the bottom of the eighth, as Peter Brookshaw hit a two-out single through the right side to drive in Charley Hesse.
Simonsen led the Bison with three hits, while Noel had a pair. Hostetler scored twice, while Noel and Simonsen each drove in two runs. Max Loven was dealing on the mound, tossing his second complete game of the season in a career-long nine innings. Loven struck out three without allowing a walk. The Leathernecks got Loven for just one run and five hits, as he improved to 2-2 on the year.
After a run from Western Illinois in the top of the first in the nightcap, the Bison scored six-straight runs over the first four innings. Anderson started the scoring for the Bison in the first, as he doubled down the left field line to bring in Brookshaw and Hesse for an early 2-1 NDSU lead. In the third inning, Noel reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Hostetler to score. Later in the third, Simonsen singled to center to bring in Brookshaw before Noel scored on a double down the left field line by Rohde. In the fourth, Anderson reached on a fielder's choice as Jake Malec scored.
The Leathernecks scored an unearned run in the fifth, cutting the lead to 6-2, but the Bison answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Malec walked to bring in Simonsen. Rohde then scored on a sacrifice fly by Hostetler, pushing the lead to 8-2. Western Illinois wouldn't go away, as the Leathernecks scored four runs in the seventh inning to trim the lead. Western Illinois scored on a one-out single before getting back-to-back bases loaded walks and a wild pitch with two outs. In the ninth inning, Deion Thompson singled up the middle to plate Steve McShane with two outs, but the Leathernecks left runners on base to end the game.
Simonsen tied a career-high with four hits in the nightcap, while Brookshaw and Hostetler added three and two respectively. Anderson drove in three runs, while Hostetler and Brookshaw each scored twice. Ben Smith improved to 3-2 on the mound, getting the win in a career-high six innings. Smith allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks, while notching three strikeouts. Jordan Harms had a strikeout in a third of an inning, while Parker Harm struck out five in 2.1 innings of work. It was the second save of the season for Harm.
NDSU returns to action on Tuesday, April 30 at Minnesota. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Siebert Field in Minneapolis.