The University of Sioux Falls and Minot State wrapped up its four-game weekend set on Sunday at Voss Field in South Sioux City, Neb. with a doubleheader split.
The Cougars (12-9, 6-2 NSIC) and the Beavers (8-9, 2-2 NSIC) each won a game on Sunday with MISU winning game one, 8-7 and USF holding on for a 7-5 victory in the nightcap.
Game one was a roller coaster of offense; USF trailed 2-0 after Sean Arbaut smacked a two-run homer in the top of the second, then countered in the home half of the frame with a Gunner Peterson two-run triple to tie the game. The two teams traded runs in the third inning before MISU did more damage with the long ball in the fourth, belting two solo shots for a 5-3 advantage.
MISU tacked on a run in the fifth with the help of a Cougar fielding hiccup before Conner Oliver blasted a long bomb to right field that bounced off the scoreboard and ran the Beavers’ lead out to 7-3 with five and a half innings in the book.
The Cougars answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Austin Goodenow led off with a single and would score thanks to Beaver backstop Paul Vogelsang’s back-to-back passed balls. Anthony Lopez had reached on a fielding error and was drove home with Peterson’s RBI ground-out to cut MISU’s lead to 7-5.
Back came Minot State with another one-run dinger in the seventh off of Cougar reliever Dylan Rock.
Trailing 8-5 in the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars made a strong push at a comeback when Ryan Fobes drew a lead-off walk before Jeremy Varner launched a two-run blast with one out to make it an 8-7 game and chase MISU reliever Doug Rolfson.
The rally would fall short, as MISU righty Austin Zorn came in to record the final two outs of the game, collecting his first save in his ninth appearance of the year.
Goertzen picked up the win on the mound, allowing three earned runs on five hits in six innings.
Cougar freshman Elijah Thornquist (1-1) took the loss and was charged with six runs (four earned) on 10 hits in five innings. He walked three and fanned three batters.
Senior Ryan Fobes had a three-run homer to back a solid outing by Henry Ojeda and the Cougars held on for a 7-5 win in game two to split the four-game series with the Beavers.
MISU starting pitcher Austin Berntson (1-1) left with two outs in in the fourth trailing 7-0. He gave up six hits with just two strikeouts and was charged with six runs, three walks, a hit by pitch and a balk in three-plus innings.
The Beaver bullpen then took things over as they combined for 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing Minot State to get back in the game.
The Cougars opened scoring with Trevor Crow’s RBI sac fly in the bottom of the first and led 3-0 after two with another MISU error and an RBI hit from Michael Downs.
Noah Durkin flied out to center field in the fourth to bring home Gunner Peterson, who singled to lead off the frame, to extend USF’s lead to 4-1 before Fobes deposited the first pitch he saw over the left field fence, a three-run blast that capped the scoring for the Cougars.
After trailing 7-0, Minot State scored once in the fifth and once in the sixth off Cougar starter Henry Ojeda. Ojeda was relieved by freshman Connor Gibson, who made quick work of the Beavers in the seventh but was tagged for a two-run homer in the eighth that made it 7-4.
Meanwhile, the MISU bullpen of Jamin Heller Alec Grothe and Christopher Fischer gave up just four hits to the Cougars over the game’s last four innings.
With two outs, MISU scored one more run in the ninth with a sharp single over third base to prompt USF head coach Matt Guiliano to make a pitching change. Derek Fischer was summoned and the senior ace sent Beaver third baseman AJ Begay down swinging on five pitches to notch his first save of the season.
Ojeda scattered two runs on six hits in six innings to even his pitching record at 3-3. The San Diego native walked four and struck out one.
The Cougars knocked out 10 hits in the nightcap and were paced by Fobes (1-for-3, three-run homer), Durkin (2-for-4, RBI) and Downs (2-for-3, two runs scored).
USF is scheduled to host Northern State on Wednesday afternoon at Harmodon Park.
Courtesy: Stephanie Pendrys, Sports Information Coordinator, University of Sioux Falls