Baseball team hits rhythm

North Dakota clinches victories, sets team records at home


UND senior Sam Alt attempts to catch the ball last weekend at Kraft Memorial Field. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/ The Dakota Student.

The UND baseball team continued its push for the playoffs this weekend against Sacramento State.

After a bumpy first game Friday, UND bounced right back with a pounding of last year’s conference champions, winning 10-0 on Saturday. UND finished the series with a 2-1 win Sunday.

Individual players also achieved milestones.

On the hill on Saturday, sophomore pitcher Zack Muckenhirn was able to give the bullpen a break, throwing his first career shutout. He played eight innings, giving up six hits, but also punching out six.

Senior infielder Tyler Follis was made hit No. 219, which ties the record for the most by a UND player

Not only was it a big weekend for players, it was also huge for the team as it tries to make the WAC playoffs.

After Saturday’s game, UND went into a three-way tie for fifth in the WAC and was able to go beyond its conference win total with nine in conference games left to play. Out of those nine, six are at home at Kraft Field.

“Coming into the series, we knew we were tied with these guys, and we said to ourselves, ‘We’ve got to prove we’re the better team, we’ve got to come out and get a W,’” Muckenhirn said after Saturday’s win.

After Saturday’s game, UND posted a home record of 5-4, and has outscored its opponents 46-43 at Kraft Field.

On Sunday, though, the team reached new goals.

UND is now 10-8 and sits one game ahead of Sacramento State in the standings.

Jeff Campbell posted the final six outs an set UND’s single-season save mark.

“We just have to stay steady and stay with the plan we put in place,” UND coach Jeff Dodson said after Saturday’s game.

As UND makes a final push for postseason baseball, this could be its first time in WAC postseason play. The team moved from the GWC in 2014.

Before moving to the WAC, UND’s last postseason appearance was 2013. It was eliminated in the semi-finals of a double elimination tournament.

UND has seen success at home with a 5-4 record, and has outscored its opponents 46-43 at Kraft Field.

The Green and White have the next two weeks to extend the margin of runs scored at home and keep climbing up in the standings as they have six conference games at home.

They also have a chance to take down the North Dakota State Bison after the scheduled game was postponed due to inclement weather. First pitch against the Bison is on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

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