UND BASEBALL: Grand Canyon completes sweep with 7-3 win over UND
The UND baseball team’s attempt to put a stop to a conference skid got off to a shaky start Sunday against Grand Canyon.
North Dakota could never recover.
The Antelopes scored five times with two outs in the first inning to earn a 7-3 win over UND in Western Athletic Conference play at Kraft Field.
UND dropped its eighth straight WAC matchup and its chances at making the conference tournament are dwindling heading into the final week of the regular season.
“It’s tough to overcome a five spot,” UND coach Jeff Dodson said. “Most of the time, if you give up a big inning against a team like Grand Canyon, it’s going to be tough to recover.”
North Dakota (10-26 overall, 8-13 in WAC play) put two runners on with nobody out in the ninth inning before bouncing into a double play to squash the threat.
“We’ve done that all weekend,” Dodson said. “That’s one of the things that has been plaguing us a bit: The big hit in the big spot. I thought a couple of times if we would have executed before the double plays, we wouldn’t have even been in those situations.”
UND also grounded into a double play in the seventh after a failed attempt at a sacrifice bunt.
UND nearly got out of the first unscathed but GCU’s Chad De La Guerra beat out the relay to first and the Lopes followed with five runs on six hits against UND starter Patrick Riewer, the team’s star in a rivalry win against North Dakota State last week.
Brian Kraft led the GCU offense with a 3-for-3 day at the plate with two doubles.
Riewer, a senior right-hander, went six-plus innings and allowed six runs. UND’s offense was paced by catcher Taylor Petersen, who was 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the year.
“All of Patrick’s pitches were arriving at the plate at the same time,” Dodson said. “His adrenaline was pumping. I went to the mound to talk about mixing speeds. After he settled in, he gave us everything he had.”
UND closes out its home schedule at 5 p.m. today against South Dakota State before playing its final WAC series of the year this weekend at first-place Sacramento State.
The top six teams in the WAC standings advance to the league tournament in Mesa, Ariz. However, Grand Canyon (second place) is still considered a transitional Division I school and isn’t eligible for postseason play.
That means UND needs to finish seventh in the league standings to continue its season. North Dakota is currently eighth and the team it needs to hunt down — New Mexico State — closes the year by hosting last-place Chicago State.