« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Jeff Kolpack, Published May 16 2013

One last win at Newman for Bison pitcher Straka

FARGO – It had to come sometime. On Thursday night, Senior John Straka took the Newman Outdoor Field mound for the last time in a career that will remain in the North Dakota State baseball records books for a long time.

Perhaps all you need to know is he’ll leave NDSU as one of the school’s best pitchers.

“He’s one of the main guys that turned this program around,” said head coach Tod Brown.

He threw seven strong innings Thursday, helping the Bison defeat Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne 6-3 in a battle of two teams trying to save their season. It’s going to come down to winning percentage for the fourth and final spot for the Summit League playoffs.

The Bison improved to 8-13 for a .380 winning clip while the Mastodons fell to 9-18 for a .333 percentage. There are three crucial games left in the series, including an afternoon doubleheader today.

“The most important thing is to get a team win when we needed one,” Straka said. “The last start does make it extra special.”

It’s possible Straka could return to Newman in another uniform if an American Association team like the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks signs him. It’s possible he could get his name called in the Major League Baseball draft in June.

“He’ll play somewhere,” Brown said.

Last year, Straka broke a 43-year-old record for most strikeouts in one season with 92, shut out the University of Minnesota and had a streak nearly 25 innings long without giving up a run. Brown points to his off-the-field contributions like hosting recruits.

“Whenever I’m done, then I’ll have time to look back and reflect,” Straka said.

It wasn’t a promising start for NDSU. The Mastodons scored two unearned runs in the first inning, capitalizing on an error when center fielder Tim Colwell and right fielder Blake Turbak collided trying to catch a routine-looking fly ball.

Fort Wayne added another run in the third for a 3-0 advantage.

But Straka got stronger as the game wore on.

NDSU finally got on the board in the sixth inning on Wes Satzinger’s two-out RBI single and finally put together a rally in the seventh.

Aiden Hook’s sacrifice fly and Colwell’s double tied it at 3-3. John Hechtner’s two-run single completed the four-run surge that suddenly put Straka in the winner’s seat.

“I knew if I put up zeroes that we could come back,” he said. “I knew that if I could hold it at three (runs), it would give us a shot to win.”

IPFW 201 000 000 – 3 8 1

NDSU 000 001 41x – 6 10 3

Kalber and Fenimore. Straka, Kingsley (8) and Leach. W–Straka (7-2). L–Kalber (2-7).

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia