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UND BASEBALL: Grand Canyon shuts out UND

Only six teams get into the Western Athletic Conference postseason tournament.

Coming into Saturday’s game against Grand Canyon, UND trailed sixth place New Mexico State by one game with only five regular-season conference games remaining.

But UND’s postseason hopes became a little further from becoming a reality after the Antelopes scored a 4-0 win at Kraft Field.

“We didn’t hit today,” said UND coach Jeff Dodson. “I thought we pitched it pretty well. We just didn’t get any really good swings. Only two of our base hits were hit sharply enough to get through the infield, so tip your hat to their guy.”  

 UND was unable to generate many hits against Grand Canyon starting pitcher Coley Bruns, who held North Dakota to four hits in nine innings.

North Dakota had just one runner reach third base. Zach Trygstad doubled in the seventh inning and was advanced on a sacrifice by Sam Alt, but Bruns got Daniel Lockhert to ground out to end the inning.

“We’ve got to be better offensively,” said Dodson. “A lot of it has been pitch selection. Tip your cap to their guys once again, they made some really good pitches. But we’ve got to be better at recognizing and putting better swings on the ball.”

Bruns received offensive help starting in the second inning when Michael Pomeroy scored from third on Ben Mauseth’s groundout to the shortstop. The Antelopes scored another in the fifth when Paul Panaccione singled to drive home Brandon Smith.

The final runs came when Chad De La Guerra singled to drive home Panaccione and Mauseth in the seventh.

Despite the lack of offensive help, UND starting pitcher Zach Muckenhirn said he could have done better on his part.

“I gave up a few runs with two outs today,” said Muckenhirn. “I just can’t do that. I felt like I wasn’t locating like I should. I don’t feel like I got the job done today either.”

Muckenhirn pitched 6X\c innings, allowing nine hits and four runs.

But Muckenhirn and UND is looking to rebound for today’s series finale.

“It going to start with (today’s starting pitcher Patrick) Riewer on the mound,” Muckenhirn added. “If we can get another good game out of him, get some fire in the dugout and hopefully score early . . . that might help us get some momentum and stay ahead.”

Also, Dodson believes a WAC tournament berth is still possible.

“I think to be safe we have to sweep out,” added Dodson. “That’s going to be a hard thing to do. We’ve got our hands full if we are to make the tournament . . . but we’ll see how it shakes out.”

UND wraps up the weekend series today at 1 p.m., then hosts South Dakota State on Monday before heading to play a series at first-place WAC opponent Sacramento State beginning Thursday.