TUCSON, Ariz. – The Dakota Wesleyan University baseball team split their final six games and won two of their last three games of the Tucson Invitational last week in Tucson, Ariz.
The Tigers faced NCAA Division II opponent, Southwest Minnesota State University on Tuesday. In the first inning, Chandler Bakley (Martin, S.D.) knocked a single into left field, bringing Reed Harter (Colome, S.D.) home for the first run of the game. After the Mustangs tied the game in the bottom of the first inning, DWU retook the lead following a three-run second inning. Heith Williams (Madison, S.D.) smacked a single to left field, bringing Kyle Bailey (Brandon, S.D.) home. Moments later, Wes Anderson (Duluth, Minn.) singled into center field, bringing Williams home to take a 4-1 lead.
However, SMSU used three runs in the fourth inning, five runs in the fifth inning and seven runs in the sixth inning to down the Tigers, 18-5. Harter finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Bakley went 2-for-3 and an RBI. Steven Sagasty (Pacifica, Calif.) pitched three innings, striking out a batter and allowing three earned runs.
DWU got back to their winning ways two days later as they defeated Waldorf University, 9-4. JT Miller (Sioux Falls, S.D.) smacked a triple in the second inning, followed by a Landon Neugebauer (Mitchell, S.D.) triple to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead. In the third inning, Brody Kunzmann (Sioux Falls, S.D.) doubled, as he brought Branden Oropeza (San Francisco, Calif.) home to push the DWU lead to 6-0. In the next inning, Bakley hit a single as he brought two runners home. The early runs allowed the Tigers to win their first game of the Tucson Invitational to that point.
Harter finished the game going 3-for-6 at the plate with an RBI, as Bakley went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Kunzmann also went 2-for-4 and added two RBIs, while Oropeza finished 3-for-5 at the plate. Gavin Reichmuth (Chandler, Ariz.) picked up the win on the mound after pitching seven innings and striking out four batters.
In their second game on Thursday, March 8, the Tigers took on NCAA Division II foe Concordia-St. Paul and fell 9-8. After adding a run in the first inning, DWU added two more runs in the third inning thanks to an Oropeza double and a Bailey single, that each brought a batter home. Both teams tallied two runs in the fifth inning, while the Tigers added two more runs in the sixth inning. But, a five-run seventh inning and two runs in the eighth inning gave the Golden Bears the victory over DWU. Jonathan Shani (San Francisco, Calif.) went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Anderson finished the game going 1-for-5 with two RBIs. Cayden Veland (Sioux Falls, S.D.) pitched five innings, while Layne Stafford (Arlington, Neb.) was tabbed with the loss after striking out a batter and allowing four earned runs.
The Tigers began Friday, March 9 with another victory over Waldorf, this time with a score of 16-11. DWU got its offense rolling thanks to six runs in the first inning. Kunzmann notched a single that brought two runners home in the six-run first inning. After the Warriors made it a 6-4 game, DWU answered with three runs in the fifth inning and two runs in the sixth inning. In the eighth inning, the Tigers secured the win after adding five runs thanks to a Kunzmann double that brought three Tigers home.
Kunzmann led the way after going 4-for-5 with five RBIs, while Bakley went 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Williams finished the game going 2-for-6 with four RBIs. Hunter Christopherson (Vermillion, S.D.) picked up the win on the mound after pitching five innings and striking out six batters.
In the second game of the day, DWU downed Olivet Nazarene University by a score of 14-9. After the Tigers of ONU took a 4-2 lead, the DWU Tigers took the 7-4 lead, thanks to a Colten Boudreau (St. Clement, Manitoba, Canada) double that gave life to the DWU offense. ONU regained the lead after a five-run fifth inning. But, DWU had the final say after scoring five runs in the eighth inning. In that inning, Boudreau singled to right field, that brought a runner home, helping secure the victory.
Boudreau had a game to remember after going 4-for-4 with seven RBIs and a run. Neugebauer went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs, as Anderson, Bakley and Joseph Hanisch (Hartford, S.D.) each went 2-for-5. Dillon Stadlman picked up the win after pitching four innings and striking out two batters.
In the final game of the Tucson Invitational, DWU took on ONU again, this time losing in a defensive battle, 6-1. Harter helped tie the game after smacking a single to right field, bringing home Miller. But, ONU notched five runs in the eighth inning to down the Tigers. Harter finished 1-for-3 with an RBI, as Kunzmann went 2-for-3.
The Tigers host their home opener against Presentation College at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Mitchell, S.D.