NDSU Baseball Drops Series Opener to Western Illinois

FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- Western Illinois scored three runs in the third and three in the eighth to down the North Dakota State baseball team 7-2 Friday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

With the loss, the Bison drop to 11-20 overall and 8-11 in the Summit League. The Leathernecks took a two-game lead over the Bison in the standings, as Western Illinois improved to 16-23 overall and 10-9 in league play. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 27 at Newman Outdoor Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. The series finale scheduled for Sunday has been moved up to be part of the Saturday doubleheader.

Both teams scored in the first inning, with the Leathernecks taking the early lead on a sacrifice fly by CJ Schaeffer Jr. The Bison responded in the bottom of the inning as Sean Noel drove Bennett Hostetler in with a ground ball.

In the third inning, Western Illinois scored on a sacrifice fly and a two-run single up the middle by Alex Dorethy. NDSU cut into the lead in the fifth inning, as Jake Malec singled to right field to bring in Zach Solano, cutting the Leathernecks lead to 4-2. Western Illinois added three runs in the eighth, highlighted by a two-run home run by Drue Galassi.

Hostetler, Jack Simonsen, Charley Hesse, Solano and Malec each had a hit for the Bison. Zach Smith suffered the loss on the mound, as he dropped to 1-4 on the year. Smith tied a career-high with seven strikeouts in seven innings, while giving up seven runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks. Jake Drew had a pair of strikeouts in the final two innings.