UND baseball slides back into town

Team opens home season at Kraft Memorial Field, posts one win, two losses

Senior Taylor Petersen runs at Kraft Memorial Field against Seattle last weekend in Grand Forks, N.D. Photo by Jennifer Friese/The Dakota Student.

Spring has truly sprung in Grand Forks, and the baseball team is finally getting to play at Kraft Field.

Even though the Green and White have found success on the road, there’s nothing like a little home cooking.

North Dakota rallied a 6-5 victory Friday, but some of the excitement faded when the team suffered a 7-0 loss Saturday and walked off the field Sunday with a 12-9 loss in a weekend series against Seattle.

“They’re ready to be home,” UND coach Jeff Dodson said. “It’s definitely good to sleep in your own bed and get to play in front of your own fans, but I think we have handled ourselves really well on the road.”

For the baseball team, a trip home has been a long time coming. Because of the cold weather in Grand Forks, it makes it hard to host home games in March and April.

UND has played all of its games on the road this season, minus a stop in Bismarck for a “home series” against Northern Colorado.

The Green and White were supposed to host their first home series against New Mexico State on April 11-13, but was canceled because of a snow storm.

Just because the team hasn’t been home, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without success.

In the Western Athletic Conference this year, UND is 8-7, and is number six team in the conference, and looking to build on what has been a successful season in the WAC.

That journey finally had come to Kraft Field this weekend, and the fans had been anticipating the teams return.

“There was a good amount of people there for it being a cold spring afternoon who wanted to see some UND baseball,” UND student Evan McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin was one among many fans at Kraft Field who saw what was one of UND’s most successful games of the season.

Seattle had come into town looking to gain some distance from the rest of the crowded pack in the WAC, UND included.

The Green and White had other plans Friday, and Taylor Petersen was ready to play.

To start the game off, Petersen smacked a double to score two of the four runs in the first inning.

After Alex Twange gave up two runs in the fourth inning — making the score 5-4 UND — Andrew Thome came in and showed signs of his old self.

In five innings of work, Thome only gave up one earned run off of four hits and struck out five batters in the process.

It came down to the bottom of the ninth, when the score was all tied up.

Taylor Petersen finished the game the way he started it, coming out swinging.

With one out, Petersen came up and bombed a towering homerun to right field.

Game Over. UND 6, Seattle 5.

“It’s a funny thing playing at home, at Kraft Field, but our guys really enjoy it here.” Dodson said. “They enjoy playing with the fans in the backdrop setting and Taylor (Petersen) had a really good day for us.

“He made some adjustments for us last week in Chicago, and we felt like it was going to carry over this week and it did. He had a couple of doubles early in the game to score a couple of runs for us and then he hit the big walk-off home run.”

While Saturday and Sunday didn’t go as well, the feeling around Grand Forks is that it’s good to have baseball back in town.

Alex Stadnik is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].