University of Jamestown senior transfer Brice Foster has begun to prove his mettle for the orange and black.
The former Menlo College (California) product cracked his first home run for the Jimmies on Friday in Orange City, Iowa, and it was a biggie. Foster's solo shot in the top of the seventh inning produced the go-ahead run in a 3-2 victory over Northwestern College as the Jimmies swept two from the Red Raiders.
Jimmie baseball will be in Moorhead, Minnesota, on Sunday to play Concordia College in a 1 p.m. doubleheader, having wrapped up its eight-game spring break trip south at 6-2.
"All and all, a great team effort today against a really good team," said Jimmie baseball coach Tom Hager. "Really happy with how we played here to end our road trip."
Foster will be hoping Fargo-Moorhead doesn't cool off his bat later this weekend. The 6-foot-6 middle infielder/pitcher who calls Lynnwood, Washington home has clubbed six hits in his last 14 at-bats in four Jimmie victories.
Foster took the first pitch he saw off Northwestern's Brett Shelton in the seventh over the fence, raising his batting average to .423 in 26 at-bats as a Jimmie. Foster transferred in over the last semester break.
"We were able to manufacture some runs to tie the game at 2-2 and Foster came up huge with a solo shot," Hager said. "He's had a really good week and anytime you can add a fifth-year senior to your mix who's got the experience he does, it's a huge asset to our team."
UJ starter Kensaku Akiya tossed five innings, allowing single runs in both the second and third but was largely in command, finishing without allowing a walk and striking out nine.
First baseman Dylan Dudley got the Jimmies on the board in the top of the fourth scoring Grant Okawa from third on a sacrifice fly to left. Dudley would drive in Okawa again in the sixth with a single to center, knotting the score at 2-2.
UJ reliever Austin Pesicka was credited with the win after pitching a perfect sixth and Andy Reed punched out two in the seventh to lock down his third save of the season following Foster's blast.
Jamestown starter Dru Fitz made a few necks sore sending Raiders back to the dugout looking at the ground in game 1.
The senior right-hander from Gresham, Oregon, was untouchable, piling up 11 strikeouts in a three-hit, 90-pitch 4-0 shutout in seven innings. Fitz twice punched out Northwestern's Josh Fakkema, Isaac Thurm and Gavin Lorenzen in the dominating performance.
"Anytime you can get a guy to throw a complete-game shutout it really sets the tone for the doubleheader, and Dru was really, really good today," Hager said. "We got some runs early and continued to add a few, and I felt like we played some really good baseball today."
Fitz lowered his season ERA to 2.63, improving to 3-0 and breaking 30 strikeouts (31) in five starts.
The game-winning run was scored in the top of the second. Jamestown's Michael Asahara scampered home from third on a wild throw charged to Northwestern starter Brady Roberts.
Jamestown plated insurance in the later innings via a Taylor Cullen RBI double in the fifth, a Foster run-scoring single in the sixth and a Luke Shekeryk solo home run coming with one out in the seventh.
Shekeryk (.367 BA) is slugging .967 with a team-leading six home runs.
University of Jamestown 4, Northwestern College 0
UJ 010 011 1 -- 4 7 1
NC 000 000 0 -- 0 3 1
Dru Fitz and Dirk Eymundson. Brady Roberts, Ethan Buckner (7) and Gacin Lorenzen. W--Fitz. L--Roberts.
Highlights: Fitz 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 SO; Tayler Cullen 1-4, 2B, RBI; Grant Okawa 1-3, 2B; Luke Shekeryk 1-3, HR, RBI, BB; Michael Asahara 1-3, R; Chase Hacker 2-3, R; Brice Foster 1-3, R, 2 SB.
Records: Jamestown 11-7. Northwestern 7-8.
University of Jamestown 3, Northwestern College 2
UJ 000 101 1 -- 3 6 0
NC 022 000 0 -- 2 9 0
Kensaku Akiya, Austin Pesicka (6), Andy Reed (7) and Dirk Eymundson. Brett Shelton and Michael Zeigler. W--Pesicka. L--Shelton. S--Reed.
Highlights: Akiya 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO; Pesicka 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB; Reed 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO; Brice Foster 1-3, HR, RBI; Brian Rice 1-3, 2B; Dylan Dudley 1-2, 2 RBI, SF; Grant Okawa 2-3, 2 R
Records: Jamestown 12-7. Northwestern 7-9.