HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Dakota State faced Judson (Ill.), No. 17 in the final NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 national poll, Friday in an elimination game in the Hutchinson (Kan.) bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at Hobart-Detter Field. The Eagles jumped to an early lead and held on to end Trojans' postseason run by the score of 9-4.
Judson, No. 2 seed in the bracket and currently 47-13 overall record, scored its first two runs of the game in the opening inning caused by DSU's defensive errors. The Eagles added two more runs, highlighted by Brian Brauer's RBI double for a 4-0 lead.
The fifth-seed Trojans scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Jason Hershfield hit a double to open the inning. Ryan Bourcier added a one-out RBI double to score Hershfield as DSU cut Eagles' lead to 4-1.
Dakota State added two more runs in the bottom third frame. Chaz Palmer recorded a single to open the inning. He advanced to second base by Judson's wild pitch. Kyle Holland hit an RBI single to score Palmer to cut DSU's deficit to 4-2. Holland scored caused by JU's passed ball and defensive error as DSU trailed at 4-3.
Judson scored three times in the top of the fourth inning to expand their lead. The Eagles opened with two straight singles. JU scored twice caused by DSU's defensive miscue to extend their lead to 7-3.
The Trojans added a run in the bottom sixth frame. Hershfield hit a single. Bourcier was hit-by-pitch to advance Hershfield to second base. A wild pitch by JU advanced Hershfield to third base. He scored by Eagles' passed ball to trim JU's lead to 7-4.
Judson made it 9-4 with two runs scored in the top of the seventh inning.
DSU was unable to score in the final inning as they left one runner on base.
Hershfield was 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and two runs scored for the Trojans. Holland added two singles and an RBI. Rays Roman had two singles. Bourcier recorded a double. Kyle Braun and Chaz Palmer each had a single.
Nick Norris recorded two doubles and an RBI for Judson. Craig Lipp and Brauer each had two hits. Cameron Balough, Jason Raymond, Tony Rallo and Elliot Bajda each had a hit.
Both teams had 10 hits in the game.
DSU committed four errors in the game, while Judson recorded one error.
Anyelo Roman (5-5) pitched four innings in loss for DSU. He gave up seven runs (five unearned) on five hits. Drew Sweeter tossed five innings in relief. He allowed two unearned runs on five hits.
Lipp (8-1) picked up a complete game win for the Eagles. He gave up four runs (one unearned) on 10 hits. Lipp recorded 12 strikeouts in the game.
DSU ended their successful season with an overall record of 28-28, which is 25 wins improvement from a season ago. The Trojans also captured a runner-up honor in the first-ever Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Baseball Postseason Tournament in San Marcos, Calif. In addition, DSU made their debut in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round in school history.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director