May 9, 2014

Park's two home runs power Bears to WAC win at Chicago State


CHICAGO – Northern Colorado Baseball overcame an early 5-0 deficit to take the lead in the late innings of a 9-7 win against Chicago State Friday.

The Bears tied the game at 6 after timely home runs from Jensen Park (Kaneohe, Hawaii) and Ben Netzel (Loveland) in the sixth inning, and after the Cougars (15-33, 3-16 WAC)  took a 7-6 lead in the bottom half of the seventh, Park hit a three-run inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning to give the Bears (8-40, 2-20 WAC) the lead for good.

Park's fly went to deep right field and landed on the warning track. Chicago State's Jordan Stroschein appeared to have lost the ball in the stadium lights and actually came in to play the ball, allowing Park to score easily.

Park went 4-for-5 at the plate with those four RBIs and three runs scored, and he is the first player to hit two home runs in a game since Jarod Berggren did so against North Dakota May 7, 2011. Park is also the first Bear to hit home runs in back to back innings since Seth Budde at North Dakota on May 10, 2010.

Netzel went 2-for-3 at the dish with two runs scored and two RBIs, and catcher Jake Garcia (Albuquerque) and third baseman Brandon Vaughn (Louisville, Colo.) also added a run batted in.

Senior Nick Miller (Loveland) went two innings on the hill and gave up the first four runs on six hits. Connor Leedholm (Lakewood) relieved him and went four innings, allowing one run on three hits. Lucas Corrick (Lakewood) then came in and pitched an inning to earn his second win of the year, and Yan Fortin (Laval, Quebec) pitched the final two frames to earn his first save of the season.

"This was a great time win," head coach Carl Iwasaki said. "We relied on the long ball, getting one from Netzel and two from Park — the second one was exciting, obviously, it was an in-the-parker. It was a great victory for the Bears. We're going to keep persevering. I told the kids this is a season we need to persevere and keep getting better. We're not done playing, and we have two weekends left to play good team ball."

The Bears return to the field at 3 p.m. Saturday against the Cougars in the middle game of the series.