Grand Forks' Brady Lewandowski and Brody Sorenson -- accounting for seven RBIs on two swings -- each sent towering shots deep out of Kraft Field on Friday night in a non-conference doubleheader against East Grand Forks.
But a mix of Grand Forks late-inning miscues and timely East Grand Forks hitting prevented a sweep of the visitors.
East Grand Forks No. 8 hitter Nick Vargas lofted a single to left field to break a 6-6 tie and score two runs in the ninth inning as East Grand Forks beat Grand Forks 9-6 after falling 8-4 in the opener.
"Vargy had a good approach, kept the barrel to it and we got two (runs) out of it," East Grand Forks coach Michael Lukkason said. "He had a good at-bat, and it was nice to get a little confidence going for him."
Grand Forks moved its record to 4-2, while East Grand Forks is 7-5. East Grand Forks has played all of its games on the road in North Dakota, as Minnesota's coronavirus restrictions have yet to allow the program to play a home game at Stauss Park.
In the first game, more than five hours before Vargas' second-game, extra-inning heroics, Lewandowski set the tone for the Blue Devils. Playing in his first game of the season due to an arm injury, Lewandowski hit a three-run homer in the first inning to stake Grand Forks to the early lead.
"Lewy gets us off to a great start," Grand Forks coach Kelvin Ziegler said. "He put a good swing on the ball, and that got us comfortable because we had some young kids out there that first game. And it ended up being a great team win. It was great to see our young kids respond and show us something."
In the second game, East Grand Forks starter Jake Osowski kept Grand Forks hitters at bay for much of the early part of the game.
Meanwhile, East Grand Forks built a 6-1 lead thanks to the offense of Carter Beck (3-for-6), Jake Hjelle (2-for-4) and Cooper Holm (3-for-5).
But Sorenson turned the game around in the fourth inning when he hit a booming grand slam to left field to trim the EGF lead to 6-5.
"We always know what we're going to get from Jake," Lukkason said. "He kept us in the game. It was a good swing (by Sorenson), and you tip your cap. But we stayed in it, competed and were lucky enough to come out on the winning side."
Said Ziegler: "Give them all the credit. East Grand Forks played very solid baseball there. We didn't execute when we needed to, but we'll get better. I don't think our defense was very good today. I think we had some mental mistakes. But we'll be alright; we just have to keep getting after it."
Grand Forks 8-6,
East Grand Forks 4-9
EGF 011 110 0 -- 4 9 1
GRA 330 002 x -- 8 6 1
WP -- Jack Jahnke; LP -- Evan Pederson
Highlights -- GF: Ryan Muizelaar 2x4, Brady Lewandowski 1x3, 3-run HR, Brody Sorenson 1x1, 2B; EGF: Logan Spencer 2x3, 2 2Bs, Collin Peterson 2x3
EGF 201 300 003 -- 9 12 2
GRA 100 401 000 -- 6 11 2
WP -- Jake Hjelle; LP -- Dillon Kuntz
Highlights -- GF: Parker Monette 2x4, 3B, Brody Sorenson 3x5, grand-slam HR, Joey Grabanski 2x5, 2B; EGF: Carter Beck 3x6, Jake Hjelle 2x4, 3B, Cooper Holm 3x5