UND BASEBALL: Bats explode in win over New Jersey Tech
So much for a pitchers' duel. The opening game of the Great West Conference series was billed as a showdown between a pair of the top arms in the league -- UND's ace Andrew Thome up against New Jersey Tech's Mark Leiter Jr., who was coming off a ...
So much for a pitchers' duel.
The opening game of the Great West Conference series was billed as a showdown between a pair of the top arms in the league -- UND's ace Andrew Thome up against New Jersey Tech's Mark Leiter Jr., who was coming off a Division I-best 20-strikeout performance last week against Chicago State.
The pregame storyline crumbled in a hurry.
UND chased Leiter after three innings, then exploded for 14 runs in the fourth inning en route to a 25-5 victory over the Highlanders on Friday afternoon at Kraft Field.
The game was shortened to seven innings due to the mercy rule.
UND's 25 runs were a season high and the 14 runs in an inning were the most in a frame since those records were kept in 1999.
"You don't see many games like this," UND coach Jeff Dodson said.
UND got to Leiter, who was the Great West Conference pitcher of the week last week, early thanks to some good fortune and plate patience.
Leiter gave up only two hits on his four runs but walked six. He also received some tough luck when a routine flyball was lost in the clouds by his centerfielder and dropped to score two runs in the bottom of the third.
Leiter's dad Mark played in the major leagues, as well as his uncle Al.
"No. 1 for us was how we handled Leiter to start out," said Dodson. "He likes to work up in the zone, and we laid off those pitches. We drew walks and that gave us some momentum."
NJIT turned to reliever Kyle Burdi in the fourth and the game spiraled out of control for the Highlanders.
How long was the fourth inning?
Centerfielder Jacob Threlkeld batted three times in the inning.
UND piled on six more runs in the fifth, capped by freshman Daniel Lockhert's grand slam into a stiff wind blowing out to center.
Lockhert, a Kennett, Mo., native, came into the game batting .217 with four RBI on the year. Against NJIT, he was 5-for-6 with a school-record 10 RBI.
"He's battled through some typical freshman things this year," Dodson said. "But he's a special player. He was locked in today."
UND took 12 walks and was beaned four times.
"We stuck to a team approach," Lockhert said.
NJIT (17-27, 9-11 Great West) and UND (18-18-1, 8-9 GWC) continue the four-game series with a doubleheader today beginning at noon.