Jimmies finish 3-1 against Trojans in S.D.
The University of Jamestown baseball team completed is four-game weekend road trip to Lennox, S.D., winning three out of four against Dakota State University.
On Saturday, the Jimmies split its second doubleheader against the Trojans in as many days winning the first game 2-1, but falling 6-5 in the finale.
The Jimmies improved their overall record to 26-7, and they currently sit at the top of the North Star Athletic Association standings at 11-3. Dakota State is at 18-23 overall and the Trojans are 3-9 in the NSAA.
The University of Jamestown will remain busy this week starting today with a pair of nonconference games against the University of Winnipeg beginning at 2 p.m. at Jack Brown Stadium. The Jimmies then host Valley City State on Wednesday and Dickinson State on Saturday.
“We expect this at the end of the season,” Jimmie head coach Tom Hager said. “Last week was a busy week for us, this week will be busy and then it’s playoff time.
“We’re looking forward to playing a bunch of games, especially at home.”
Jamestown 2, Dakota State 1
The Jimmies’ sophomore starting pitcher Tanner Dahl improved to 6-1 on the season after tossing five solid innings in a low-scoring affair to start Saturday’s games.
“Tanner was coming off short rest. Just (four) days after pitching against Mayville,” Hager said. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he gave us a quality outing and that allowed us to get to our bullpen and (Ryan) Vernon and (Nick) Smart took it from there.”
All the game’s scoring came in the fourth inning, with the Jimmies striking first in the top half behind a 2-RBI single to left field by Nathan Christiuk. Paul Sitkowski and Spencer Flaten both singled in front of Christiuk, as the senior from Dufrost, Manitoba, pushed both Sitkowski and Flaten across the plate to account for the only runs the Jimmies would need.
“Runs were hard to come by for both teams, but we scored a few when we needed to,” Hager said.
Senior Nolan Skowronek went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot for the Jimmies, and he also accounted for the game’s only extra-base hit, a double to center in the top of the fifth. Christiuk finished 1-for-3 at the plate.
Dakota State’s lone run was scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth.
Dahl allowed one run on five hits and a pair of walks, while striking out four, as the West Fargo product strode to the victory. Smart came on in the seventh where he struck out two batters en route to his third save of the year.
Vernon, a senior from Sammamish, Wash., pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth to set up the save.
“(Smart) has been very consistent all year, and we feel when we have him on the mound at the end of a game we have a chance to win,” Hager said. “It was fun to see no matter who we had in that mix we were able to throw strikes. That’s something we have to continue the rest of the year.”
Matthew Achter (2-for-3) also picked up a pair of hits for the Jimmies in the victory.
Dakota State 6, Jamestown 5
The Jimmies rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 5-all, but the Trojans got to the Jimmie relievers in the bottom half to squeak out the 1-run victory.
The Jimmies’ Grant Mattes gave up a double to the Trojans’ Jordan Entrikin to start the bottom of the sixth. Then Dakota State’s Ryan Schlesser later singled to center off the Jimmies’ Scott Beever to plate the go-ahead run, as four Jimmie relievers saw action in the sixth.
Jason Shaw started on the mound for Jamestown. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits, while striking out three.
“Shaw was another guy who was coming off short rest for us and he didn’t have a really good outing today, but we were able to put some runs together and tie the game,” Hager said. “We went with a bunch of guys in relief. But it wasn’t a very good day offensively for us and that’s what it really came down to.”
Sitkowski homered to left field in the top of the fourth to cut an early Trojan lead to 3-1. After falling behind 5-1, the Jimmies loaded the bases in the sixth with a pair of walks at a hit batsman.
Flaten drove in a pair with a single, and a triple by Shayne Kelly scored two more of the Jimmies in the inning which leveled the score. Jamestown could have done further damage, but Trojan reliever Bryant Westra closed the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
Flaten went 2-for-3, accounted for two of the Jimmies’ six hits. Dakota State designated hitter Joe Davis did most of the damage for his club, launching a 2-run homer in the first inning, and another 2-run homer in the fifth.
Davis was 2-for-2 with five RBIs.
“We just didn’t swing the bats like we usually do. We didn’t swing the bats well all day,” Hager said. “I thought we could do a better job of making adjustments. We just didn’t do that, and we have to do a better job of making some adjustments as the game goes on.”
University of Jamestown 2, Dakota State 1
Jamestown 000 200 0 — 2 8 1
Dakota State 000 100 0 — 1 6 3
Tanner Dahl, Ryan Vernon (6), Nick Smart (7) and Matthew Achter, Nathan Christiuk (4). Mitch Bouchard and Jordan Entrikin. W—Dahl. L—Bouchard. S—Smart. 2B—UJ, Nolan Skowronek.
Dakota State 6, University of Jamestown 5
Jamestown 000 104 0 — 5 6 0
Dakota State 201 021 x — 6 11 2
Jason Shaw, Grant Mattes (6), Darren Iseri (6), Scott Beever (6), Gaige Dunn (6) and Matthew Achter, Marcus Blackmon Jr. (4), Nathan Christiuk (5). Zac Smith, Seth Spears (6), Bryant Westra (6) and Ryan Schlesser. W—Westra. L—Iseri. 2B—DS, Jordan Entrikin. 3B—UJ, Shayne Kelly. HR—DS, Joe Davis (2); UJ, Paul Sitkowki.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at 701-952-8461 or by email at email@example.com