UND Wins Opener at Great West Conference Baseball TournamentUND hands three-time defending champion Utah Valley its first loss ever in the GWC tournament, 8-7.
By: UND release, WDAZ
NEWARK, N.J.-- Jeff Campbell got out of two late-inning jams and went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of runs to lead No. 5-seed North Dakota past fourth-seeded Utah Valley, 8-7 in the opening round of the Great West Conference Tournament Tuesday morning at Riverfront Stadium. UND handed the three-time defending champion Wolverines their first loss in the tournament's history (12-1).
"That's the way we've been doing things, winning late," UND head coach Jeff Dodson said. "That was a total team win for us. Overall, our kids played tremendous, we had a great approach and had some big two-out knocks. We beat a great club today."
Six different UND players notched multi-hit games, led by a 3-for 4 effort from nine-hole hitter Patrick Vandoorne. His two-run double in the second staked UND to an early 3-0 lead after he kept the at bat alive with five straight foul balls with two strikes.
The Wolverines got a three-run homer in the fourth to re-tie the score, but North Dakota immediately answered with a four-spot in the fifth inning to take the lead for good. Although it never trailed in the game, UND (24-20-1) had to fend off several UVU (24-29) rallies to cinch the win. The Wolverines trimmed a four-run deficit down to a single run with nobody out in the ninth inning before Campbell rared back and slammed the door for his first save of the season.
North Dakota's four runs in that fifth inning were all unearned when a single and an error on the catcher would have provided the first out with a strikeout and a groundout to follow. Instead of being out of the inning, UND collected three straight two-out hits with an RBI single from Zack Trygstad, a two-strike double to right by Campbell and another run-scoring single by Tyler Follis.
Trailing 7-3, UVU picked up a pair in the seventh to chase UND starter Andrew Thome, who finished throwing 6.2 innings with five runs, four strikeouts and three walks to pick up his sixth win (6-5). UND got a big insurance run in the ninth with Daniel Lockhert stroking a bases-loaded single to left with two down.
It proved to be a big run. A leadoff double and a two-base error put runners in scoring position with nobody down. Stone Ramsey delivered them both home and later moved to second on a sacrifice bunt with one down. From there, Campbell induced a foul popup and got a swinging strikeout to end it.
The three through eight spots in the UND lineup each drove in a run with another two coming from Vandoorne. The sophomore second-sacker had a team-high three hits while Jacob Threlkeld, Trygstad, Campbell and Lockhert each collected a pair.
UND will now advance in the winner's bracket to play the winner of the No. 1 Northern Colorado vs. No. 8 Chicago State matchup at 11:15 Central time Wednesday. UVU will face the loser in an elimination contest directly proceeding that game.
Notes: North Dakota improves to 6-6 all-time at the GWC Tournament ... UND has won the opening game in the tourney despite being the lower seed in each of the past three seasons ... UND is now 11-0-1 when it scores at least seven runs this year ... Follis extended his reached-base streak to a team-high 19 games in the win.