FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Behind stellar pitching performances from IPFW pitchers Trevor Storie, Zach Dowden, and Jake Weber, and a walk-off sacrifice fly from Jonathan Valenzuela-Reece, the IPFW baseball team snapped its seven game losing skid with a 4-3 win over the North Dakota State Bison on Friday afternoon in 11 innings.
The 11 innings are the longest that IPFW as played in a game since March 3, 2013 when IPFW won 7-6 over SIUE in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Evan VanSumeren went 2-for-5 at the plate, and was the only Mastodon with multiple hits in the game, as six others – Kendall Whitman, Shane Trevino, Brock Logan, Greg Kaiser, Zak Kellogg, and Jackson Boyce – all had a single hit in the contest.
Trevor Storie lasted seven innings for his second consecutive start, scattering three hits and giving up two earned runs while striking out six. Zach Dowden allowed two hits and a run in an inning of work, while Jake Weber picked up the win, his second of the season, striking out five over three innings, giving up just one hit.
After two scoreless innings, North Dakota State struck first in the top of the third inning when the Bison strung together a walk and two hits to chase home the first run of the game and give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
IPFW answered immediately back when Trevino drove in Boyce with a groundout to the first baseman, knotting the score at one run apiece.,
After the run in the third inning, North Dakota State was kept off the scoreboard for the next four innings, while the Mastodons strung together two more innings with a run. In the fourth inning Boyce reached on a fielder’s choice to the second baseman that allowed Shannon Baker to score, before IPFW added another run following a Whitman walk and a Logan double, as the relay throw from the outfield was wild, giving Whitman a chance to cross the plate and take the Mastodon lead to 3-1.
NDSU answered and tied the score in the top of the eighth inning, as the teams went through the 9th and 10th innings without a run.,
In the bottom of the 11th, following a leadoff strikeout, Kaiser hit a first-pitch offering off the base of the wall in right field, and as the carom got away from the NDSU right fielder, the Mastodon shortstop was able to scamper to third with one out. Jon Timmermen walked and then stole second base, before Valenzuela-Reece hit a fly ball to left field allowing Kaiser to score the game-winning run.
Bison first baseman JT Core was 3-for-3 with two RBI’s, as he recorded half of his team’s six hits in the game. Starting pitcher David Ernst lasted seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) while striking out four and giving up three hits. Jay Flaa picked up the loss, allowing a hit and a run over two and two-thirds of an inning, striking out three.
The teams meet up for the second game of the series on Saturday, April 4 in a 3 p.m. first pitch at Mastodon Field.