GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Texas-Pan American made it interesting in the end, but the Northern Colorado baseball team hung on for the 7-5 win on day two of the Great West Conference Tournament.
The Broncs scored three times on six hits in the ninth inning, but junior Cameron Tallman was able to strike out the final two for his fifth save of the year. He worked in relief of high school teammate Joe Sawicki, who improved to 5-6 on the year after pitching 8.1 innings. He allowed five runs on 10 hits, walking just one and striking out four.
The Bears improve to 24-31 on the season and are 1-1 in the tournament. They will face the loser of NYIT and Utah Valley at 4:00 pm on Thurs. Texas-Pan American concludes its season at 21-31.
Junior Jarod Berggren continued his stellar tournament, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of line shots down the left field line. He had four of the team's six RBI and made an amazing diving catch in left field to save an extra base hit and possibly a run in the second inning.
Juniors Ben Packard and Casey Coy also each had a pair of hits and Packard tallied the other two RBI of the game. Junior Adam Hilker and senior Bret Fanning each scored a pair of runs and Hilker walked three times, including an intentional one in the sixth.
Tallman's five saves now rank in a tie for fourth on the Northern Colorado single-season charts and he is just two shy of the all-time mark of seven by Brennan Garr (2005) and Josh Durant (1999).
Texas-Pan American broke onto the scoreboard first with one run off two hits and two wild pitches in the top of the second inning.
Coy and senior T.J. Berge had back-to-back singles over the short stop's head with one out in the bottom of the second and junior Tony Crudo was hit to load the bases, but sophomore Harrison Lambert lined out to end the inning and keep the score at 1-0.
In the bottom of the third, Hilker walked to start things off. Fanning laid down a beautiful bunt down the third base line and beat the throw. Berggren then singled down the left field line and moved to second when the outfielder bobbled the ball. Packard grounded out to the short stop but the second run scored to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
UTPA tied the score in the top of the fifth with a pair of singles and a sacrifice.
Senior Marcus Valenzuela doubled to start the sixth and Crudo walked. Lambert laid down a sacrifice bunt and the Broncs intentionally walked Hilker. Fanning hit into a fielder's choice and Berggren hit a double down the left field line. Packard singled to center and Coy singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. Berge walked and Packard scored on a passed ball to give the Bears a 7-2 lead.
In the top of the ninth, the Broncs rallied, but the Bears stopped them at three runs for the 7-5 final.