MADISON, S.D. - Dakota State recorded a combined seven home runs Wednesday night as the Trojans swept their in-state rival Dakota Wesleyan in home baseball opener at Flynn Field. DSU won their third straight game by defeating the Tigers 6-5 in the first game of the doubleheader and 6-3 in the night cap.
Dakota State began their 12-game home stand with a 2-0 record and improved their overall record to 13-14. Dakota Wesleyan, a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference, dipped their record to 11-15.
Game 1 - Dakota State 6, Dakota Wesleyan 5 - BOX SCORE
Stephen Gunnell hit a solo home run to open the second inning to give DWU a 1-0 lead. Erik Nockleby added an RBI single to score Anthony Pakutka (courtesy runner for Chris Ciatti) to extend Tigers' lead to 2-0.
DWU made it 3-0 in the top third frame as Gunnell hit his second solo home run of the game.
The Trojans produced back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom fourth inning to gain their first lead of the game. Connor Hargrove opened the inning with a single. Anyelo Roman hit a 2-run home run to trim DWU's lead to 3-2. Ryan Bourcier and Jason Hershfield each added a solo home run as DSU earned a 4-3 lead.
Nick Tadlock hit a 2-run home run in the top of the fifth inning as the Tigers regained their lead to 5-4.
Dakota State answered back with a 2-run home run by Bourcier as the Trojans overtook a 6-5 lead.
DWU left one runner on base in the final inning as the Trojans sealed the victory.
Bourcier recorded two home runs (fifth overall this season) with three RBIs for DSU. Hershfield and Anyelo Roman (his sixth home run overall this year) each added a home run. Rays Roman and Hargrove each added a single.
Gunnell had two home runs, three runs scored and two RBIs for the Tigers. Tadlock added a home run and two RBIs. Ciatti and Lukkason each had two hits. Nockleby had a single and an RBI.
Josh Caven (2-0) worked five innings in victory for Dakota State. He allowed five runs on seven hits. Hershfield recorded the save as he tossed the final two innings of the game. He held DWU to one hit.
Ethan Opsahl (3-3) pitched a complete game in the loss for DWU. He gave up six runs on six hits. Opsahl struck out seven DSU's batters.
Game 2 - Dakota State 6, Dakota Wesleyan 3 - BOX SCORE
Dakota Wesleyan scored its first run of the game in the opening to earn a 1-0 lead. Maximum Shower opened with a double. Kirk McBreen recorded a bunt single and advanced Shower to third base. Lukkason reached on base by DSU's defensive error and scored Shower.
In the bottom of the first inning, Rays Roman opened with a walk for DSU. Ryan Steffensen hit a single and advanced Rays Roman to third. Rays Roman scored caused by DWU's defensive error to tie the game at 1-1. Bourcier added an RBI sacrifice fly to score Steffensen to give Trojans a 2-1 lead. Hershfield extended DSU's lead to 3-1 as he hit a solo home run.
Chaz Palmer scored in the bottom of the second frame by Tigers' defensive error and extended DSU's lead to 4-1.
Hershfield hit his second solo home run of the game (his third home run on the same day and sixth home run overall) in the bottom of the third inning to give Trojans a 5-1 lead.
Nockleby recorded an RBI sacrifice fly to score Pakutka (courtesy runner for Ciatti) as the Tigers trimmed their deficit to 5-2.
Ciatti hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning to cut DSU's lead to 5-3.
Corey Pasichnyk opened the bottom sixth inning with a solo home (his third home run this season) run to extend Trojans' lead to 6-3.
DSU secured the victory in the final inning as the Tigers went three-and-out with three straight strikeouts (swinging).
Hershfield was 2-for-2 at the plate with two home runs, two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk for the Trojans. Pasichnyk added a home run and an RBI. Steffensen added two singles. Kyle Holland and Palmer each recorded a single.
Ciatti was 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, a single and an RBI for the Tigers. Shower added a double and a run scored. McBreen, Sam Schumacher and Jon Holsworth each had a single.
Brandon Womack (3-2) recorded the win for DSU. He pitched six innings and allowed three runs on six hits. Womack recorded four strikeouts. Hershfield notched his fifth save of the season as he tossed a shutout seventh inning, recording three straight strikeouts.
Joey Fitzgerald (3-3) pitched four innings in the loss for DWU. He gave up five runs (two unearned) on five hits. Chris Housley worked one inning in relief. He allowed one run on two hits. Josh Wagner tossed the sixth inning and allowed one hit.
Dakota State looks to extend their winning streak as they continue their 12-game home stand this weekend. The Trojans kick off their four-game series with former Dakota Athletic Conference foe Jamestown with a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. First game is set for 2 p.m. at Flynn Field.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director