DICKINSON, N.D. (NSAA) – Hakeem Yatim broke a 4-4 tie with an eighth-inning grand slam Friday night as No. 2 seed Dakota State survived an upset bid by No. 7 seed Valley City State University.

Yatim’s blast sparked a seven-run inning as Dakota State picked up an 11-4 victory over the Vikings in the first round of the NSAA Baseball Tournament.

The Vikings scored all three of their runs in the first three innings, building a 4-2 lead in their upset bid. Dakota State chipped away with single runs in the third and seventh innings, and then broke the game open on Yatim’s grand slam.

Dakota State (35-16) advances in the winner’s bracket and will play at 7 p.m. MDT on Saturday. Valley City State (12-33) drops into loser-out action and plays at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

The Vikings struck just two batters into the game Friday as Adam Thompson and Jaden Babiuk hit back-to-back doubles to start the top of the first inning. Dakota State responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, getting a sacrifice fly from Walker Hultgren and an RBI single by Chris Burke to take a 2-1 lead.

Valley City State regained the lead with three runs in the top of the third. Thompson and Babiuk opened the inning with back-to-back hits and then Drew Nixon drilled an RBI double and Zach Veneman followed with a two-out, two-run triple to put the Vikings ahead 4-2.

The Trojans cut the deficit in half in their next at bat as Jeremy Green doubled and then Hultgren scored him with an RBI single. The teams traded zeros through the middle innings before Dakota State was able to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh. McDaniel reach with a one-out double and then scored on Jeremy Green’s RBI single.

The Trojans took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth. Cade Wenniger reached with a lead-off single and then Chris Burke drew a walk to put two runners on with no outs. Dawson Portner reached on a hit by pitch to load the bases and then Hakeem Yatim drilled the game-winning grand slam over the right field fence.

VCSU starter Brooks Brown gave the Vikings 6 2/3 strong innings on the mound, scattering 11 hits and four runs. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. Keeton Clark pitched out a jam in the seventh inning, but then took the loss after allowing the first three runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Dakota State starter Sam Tyrpa – the NSAA Pitcher of the Year – went 5 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and four runs. He walked one and struck out 10 Vikings. JD Kirchner came on in relief and was lights out for the Trojans. The righthander pitched three scoreless innings for the win, allowing Dakota State to rally back.

Yatim finished the game 2-for-4 with the grand slam, while Jeremy Green was 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI for Dakota State. Mason Macaluso and Ryan McDaniel each had two hits as well. Zach Veneman went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead VCSU’s offense. Adam Thompson was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs, while Dustin Mertz and Jaden Babiuk each had two hits as well.