March 8, 2014

Baseball splits Saturday's doubleheader

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

GREELEY – The Northern Colorado baseball team split a pair of games with North Dakota State on Saturday, winning game one 3-1, but dropping game two 8-4.

Both teams were equal in the hits department in each game with four in the first and 13 in the second, but the Bears (3-11) left 15 runners on base in the second game, while the Bison (3-5) stranded eight in the first contest for the differences in the runs column.

The two teams square off Sunday in another doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for noon. Game one will be seven innings, while game two will be a full nine-inning affair.

Game One Recap
Senior right-handed pitcher Josh Tinnon (Niwot, Colo.) pitched a gem in the first game, throwing six innings allowing just one unearned run on four hits. He walked three and struck out four. Fellow senior Dan Talley (Colorado Springs) faced the minimum three batters in the seventh, striking out one for his second save of the year.

The Bears also recorded four hits in the game, but took advantage of an NDSU error and scored three runs. Junior Jensen Park (Kaneohe, Hawai'i) took his first at bat of the season over the left field fence and senior Ben Netzel (Loveland, Colo.) recorded the team's other RBI, driving home high school teammate Nick Miller (Loveland). Netzel scored on an error later in the fifth inning for the three runs.

UNC stranded only one runner, while NDSU left eight on base. The Bears also committed two errors in the game, while the Bison had one.

North Dakota State scored an unearned run in the top of the first for the early 1-0 lead. Tim Colwell, the leadoff hitter, bunted to start the game and Tinnon overthrew first. He moved up 90 feet on a groundout and scored on a double down the left field line by Wes Satzinger.

Park cleared the left field wall in the bottom of the second to knot the score at 1-1.

The Bison threatened in the top of the third, loading the bases, but a great diving play in foul territory by junior Brandon Vaughn (Louisville, Colo.) and another sharply hit ball at Vaughn allowed him to step on third and end the inning with no score.

The Bears tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning. Miller led off with a single back up the middle and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Colby Harrison (Cheyenne, Wyo.). Netzel hit a single to right center to score Miller, moved to second on a groundout by freshman Nick Tanner (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) and scored on a throwing error by the Bison for the 3-1 final score.

Game Two Recap
Northern Colorado scored three of its four runs in the last two innings, attempting to comeback against North Dakota State, but the Bison held on for the 8-4 victory.

Senior catcher Andrew Coffman (Davenport, Iowa) went 4-for-5 at the plate to lead the Bears, while Harrison was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Netzel had two RBI in the nightcap for three on the day, while senior Landon Moseley (Lawrence, Kan.) and freshman Jake Ekman (Littleton, Colo.) each had one.

In similar fashion to the first game, North Dakota State scored one in the top of the first inning, this time off two hits.

Harrison singled past a diving first baseman to start things in the second and Coffman followed with a line drive single to left. Moseley singled to center to plate Harrison and tie the score 1-1.

The Bison scored two runs in the top of the fourth on three hits and a Bears error for the 3-1 lead. The Bears loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth but were unable to capitalize. NDSU scored two more runs in the top of the seventh to stretch the lead to 5-1.

With two outs in the seventh, Miller drew a four pitch walk and scampered to third on a hard hit single to right by Harrison but the pair was stranded.

Junior Bryan Tibbitts (Westminster, Colo.), pinch hitting, singled down the left field line and Yamane drew a four pitch walk. Ekman tripled to straight-away center to score Seth Jackson (Eaton, Colo.), who ran for Tibbitts, but Yamane was thrown out at the plate to keep the score 5-2.

The Bison added three runs in the top of the ninth to extend their lead to 8-2.

With two outs in the bottom half of the frame, Harrison singled to center, Coffman singled back up the middle and both scored on a double to right center by Netzel. Jackson – in his first plate appearance of the year – was plunked by a pitch – but Yamane popped up to end the game with the score 8-4.