Baseball starts season 2-1 over No. 12 USC

As surprising as it is for people who live in Grand Forks, the college baseball season has begun and the UND baseball team started its season off the right way.

The Fighting Hawks threw a curve to the No. 12 University of Southern California this weekend as UND took two out of three games from the Trojans.

Starting in game one junior left handed pitcher Zach Muckenhirn shut out USC as he pitched all nine innings for his second career complete game shutout for a final score of 1-0.

“Wow, biggest win in this program’s history,” UND coach Jeff Dodson said. “To beat a top 15-ranked team, USC has a great team. The story tonight was Muckenhirn. He threw as good as I’ve ever seen him.”

While Muckenhirn stole the show, he had some help from his teammates in the outfield.

“Ellery Bresnahan saved so many runs in the outfield,” Dodson said. “It was a great defensive performance by him out there in center. Miles Lewis had two hits and scored the run, just awesome for our club. It was a total team effort.”

After what appeared to be the high of the weekend, game two trumped that by UND taking yet another win from USC to begin a streak. The performance on the field over both games left everyone speechless, especially Dodson.

“No words can express what we just did, beating a 12th-ranked team twice in their ballpark,” Dodson said. “Great production from our lineup today. We put up 11 hits and swung the bat really well.”

UND collected 11 hits as each player on the team had at least one hit. Both Brett Harrison had and Daniel Lockhert collected a pair of hits in the win. The Hawks would claim the win by a score of 5-4.

Unfortunately, the streak was short lived as game three was salvaged by USC to prevent the UND sweep.

The Hawks fell to an early deficit of 5-1 but worked back with some key at bats. The Fighting Hawks claimed the 6-5 lead in the sixth inning off an offensive surge. The Trojans managed to tie and get the go ahead run in the seventh that sealed the fate of the Hawks for a 7-6 final.

“We just had a couple miscues on defense that cost us a couple runs and you can’t do that against a good team,” Dodson said.

What makes the Hawks’ series win that much more impressive is the disparity between the teams. While the Trojans are ranked as one of the top teams in the country, UND is unranked and was picked to finish No. 9 in the WAC preseaon poll.

The Fighting Hawks will head to Alabama for a three-game series beginning Friday.

Allyson Bento is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]