Eighth Inning Pushes North Dakota Past Chicago State
A seven-run eighth inning blew the door open for an 11-1 North Dakota victory over visiting Chicago State in the finale of a three-game sweep of a Western Athletic Conference series at Kraft Field Sunday. Hunter Walsh whacked his first homer in a UND uniform in the eighth, then ended the game with a two-run walk-off double for a run-rule win and UND's fourth straight win.
The offensive burst overshadowed a phenomenal outing by starter Alex Twenge, who allowed just one run on only three hits in going the distance. The senior righty was sharp early, setting down the Cougar lineup in order the first time through. His team gave him an early lead to work with as Dalton Parrott led off the bottom of the first with his second homer of the season and Tyler Follis later came around on an unearned run as he was aboard in all five plate appearances (three hits, a walk and an error) Sunday.
Twenge made it hold up, keeping the Cougars at bay until the sixth when the lone blemish was a solo homer by Chase Matheson made it 2-1 North Dakota. UND (12-16, 6-6 WAC) immediately got that one back in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring double by Parrott, who later scored himself on a balk for a 4-1 advantage.
Twenge did not allow another hit after the homerun and struck out a pair in the eighth to finish with seven on the afternoon. His offense took over, sending 10 men to the plate and posting seven runs in the home half to earn the run-rule win. It started with a shot to left by Walsh, his first homer of the season. T.J. Pigeon hit his first career dinger to start the rout. After Parrott and Follis walked, Jeff Campbell unloaded with a majestic three-run bomb to deep to left field for a 9-1 edge.
Chicago State then loaded the bases with three straight free passes and Walsh delivered the final blow with a one-hopper off the fence in left field to score two and give North Dakota the sweep, 11-1.
UND scored seven runs in that eighth inning on just four extra-base hits (three homers, double). North Dakota finished the afternoon with 16 hits with Walsh and Follis each etching three hits apiece. Parrott, Ryan Reese, Daniel Lockhert and Pigeon each tallied two hits in the convincing win.
North Dakota will take to the road for its next five, beginning with a Tuesday non-conference tilt at South Dakota State.
Notes: UND improves to 17-6 all-time against Chicago State and has won the season series in five of the six seasons in which they've played (four years in Great West Conference, two in WAC) ... Follis upped his batting average to .426 on the season.