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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 04 2013

Grizzlies best Bison for baseball doubleheader sweep

FARGO – The Summit League membership status of Oakland University (Mich.) has been as cloudy as the weather was Saturday. It seems everybody has the Grizzlies going to the Horizon League, although there has been no official word from the school or athletic department.

It’s possible this weekend is the last look in Fargo at the school from suburban Detroit and if that’s the case, then NDSU will bid a Summit goodbye to a university that has been a competitive equal.

“If that is the case, then we’ll certainly miss them out of the Summit,” said NDSU head coach Tod Brown. “The rumors are probably true because everyone is talking about it. Oakland has always been a team we’ve battled with.”

The men’s basketball series, which turned into a hot rivalry in a short period of time, could be over. In baseball, the last three games at Newman Outdoor Field have been hotly contested, with the latest a pitcher’s battle that saw neither team take more than a two-run lead in both games.

The Grizzlies were better when it counted in both, taking a 3-2, 2-1 sweep with the second game going 11 innings.

“Tough day,” Brown said. “A lack of offense. We pitched well enough to win both games. When you score one run in 11 innings, you’re just not going to win.”

NDSU fell to 19-19 overall and 6-7 in the league. Oakland is 13-28, 8-9. Both remain on pace to qualify for the Summit League tournament at Oakland at the end of the month. The Summit is down to six teams for baseball and Nebraska-Omaha is ineligible because it is going through a Division I reclassification. That will leave just one team being left out of postseason.

Getting the NCAA berth is what NDSU has continued to build for. Finding the hitting groove would help, which was made more difficult on Saturday with the cold wind blowing in at Newman. The Bison got just four hits in the opener and six in the second game, with the only extra-base hit all day a double by Wes Satzinger.

“Wish, hope and pray is not going to cut it,” Brown said of the hitting. “We’ve been working hard on it.”

In the opener, Tim Colwell’s two-out infield single in the seventh and final inning resulted in one run to pull the Bison within 3-2. That brought on relief pitcher Russell Luxton Jr., who got Jon Hechtner to ground to third base to end the game.

On a cold and breezy day, offense for both teams continued to be problematic in the nightcap. To wit: NDSU got nothing despite loading the bases in the fifth inning, but the three outs in the inning came via two strikeouts on a called third strike and pop fly bunt by the No. 3 batter in the lineup.

Oakland scraped across a run in the top of the 11th inning on a two-out run-scoring single by Robby Enslen.

Oakland 000 020 1 –3 8 1

NDSU 000 100 1 –2 4 2

Paulson, Luxton Jr. (7) and Jacoby. Flaa, Lambrecht (4), Anderson (5) and Leach. W–Paulson (2-7). L–Lambrecht (4-1).

Oakland 100 000 000 01 –2 8 1

NDSU 010 000 000 00 –1 6 2

Koons, Mielock (8), Korkate (10), Luxton Jr. (11) and Bechtel. Ernst, Anderson (7), Kingsley (8) and Leach. W–Korkate (1-0). L–Kingsley (0-3).

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia