Baseball slides after hot start

The Fighting Hawks have lost seven straight games and currently sit at a 3-13 record. 

As the weather warms up, fans get closer and closer to being able to watch UND baseball in Grand Forks.

The baseball team has hit a rough patch as they have lost seven straight games and hold a 3-13 record.

This last weekend, the team dropped three one-run games in their first series against conference opponent Sacramento State.

Although the team as a whole is struggling, pitching staff ace Zach Muckenhirn continues to mow down opponents. The junior notched 14 strikeouts in his 7.1 innings of work and only gave up one run. Unfortunately, that was the deciding run as Sacramento State would not give up any runs to the Fighting Hawks and won 1-0.

“It was a great pitching duel on Friday night in conference play. That’s what you’d expect,” UND coach Jeff Dodson said. “Zach Muckenhirn pitched his heart out with a career-high 14 strikeouts, but we didn’t come up with the run we needed and couldn’t push a run across.”

Offensively, UND was led by Miles Lewis. The freshman recorded three of the Hawks’ five hits on Friday afternoon, good for his impressive sixth multi-hit game of the season. Lewis currently holds a .349 batting average on the season.

On Saturday, the Fighting Hawks took on the Hornets in a double header. UND got a solid outing by the big right-hander Brett DeGagne, who gave up one run in his seven innings, striking out nine Hornet batters. He also helped himself with an RBI double.

Despite the senior’s good outing, the team went into the 8th inning up one run but then went into the 9th tied 2-2.

The game went into extra-innings, but UND was unable to generate any offense. Sacramento State would go on to score the game-winning run in the 11th inning.

In the second game of the double-header, the two teams would trade runs after the Fighting Hawks scored an unearned run in the first inning. The Hornets scored a run in the second and third innings, while UND struck back for single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Hornets would tie the game at 3-3 and then go on to score another run in the 8th to make it 4-3. That run would prove to be the winner as UND could not get any runs in after loading the bases with one out in the 9th.

Runners left on base was a common theme in the nightcap as UND stranded 12 runners throughout the contest.

“Tough series for us with three one-run games with a quality club like Sacramento State is nothing to sneeze at,” Dodson said. “We just have to be better in run-producing situations and it’s something that’s been plaguing us all year.”

UND will try to get the season back on track this weekend against Utah Valley in a three-game series starting at 7 p.m. tonight.

The Fighting Hawks’ first home series starts next weekend at 1 p.m. at Kraft Memorial Field as they take on Seattle University.

Adam Gunderman is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]