Bison Baseball Stave off Elimination, Face SDSU

NDSU reaches 30 wins for fifth time in program history.

TULSA, Okla. (NDSU Athletics) – The North Dakota State University baseball team kept its 2017 season alive and reached 30 wins for the fifth time in program history with an 11-4 victory over the Western Illinois University Leathernecks in a Summit League Baseball Championship elimination game on Thursday, May 25, at J.L. Johnson Stadium on the Oral Roberts University campus.

NDSU (30-24) advances to face the loser of Thursday’s winner’s bracket contest between Oral Roberts and South Dakota State on Friday, May 26, at 6 p.m. Western Illinois finishes its 2017 season with an overall record of 18-32.

Freshman shortstop Bennett Hostetler went a career-best 4-for-6 with a double, three runs scored and four RBIs, while sophomore outfielder Alec Abercrombie and senior outfielder Ben Petersen both recorded two hits and drove in a run, leading the Bison at the plate.

Senior Reed Pfannenstein (7-4) earned the victory on the mound for NDSU after giving up four earned runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in eight innings pitched and 133 total pitches.

North Dakota State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after Mason Pierzchalski crossed home plate on a Western Illinois throwing error in the top of the first inning.

The Bison offense surged in the top of the second, plating five runs to increase the lead to 6-0. Hostetler plated the opening two runs of the frame with a single to left center, before Abercrombie scored on a Leatherneck fielding error for the third run of the inning. JT Core drove in the final two runs of the frame after hitting a single to right field.

NDSU continued its scoring outburst in the top of the third with two more runs, ballooning the advantage to 8-0. Hostetler singled to left field, scoring Abercrombie, and Petersen smacked a single to center field, plating Hostetler.

After trimming the NDSU lead to 8-2 with a pair of runs in the second and third innings, Western Illinois held the Bison scoreless in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings, and scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth, trimming the North Dakota State lead to 8-4.

The Bison responded though, and plated three runs in the top of the ninth to push their lead to 11-4. All three runs came with two outs in the inning. Abercrombie knocked in the first run of the frame with a single to right field before Hostetler hit an RBI double to left field and Drew Fearing smacked an RBI single to right.

Designated hitter Conner Currier went 3-for-4 in the batter’s box with a homer and two RBIs to lead Western Illinois offensively.

WIU starting pitcher Ian Koch (5-5) suffered the loss after allowing four unearned runs and two earned runs on four hits with a strikeout and two walks in 1 2/3 innings pitched.

The Leathernecks committed five errors in the contest, while the Bison tallied no miscues to go along with two double plays.

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