Pitching Propels Dakota State To Sweep Of MMC

BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Yankton Press & Dakotan

March 5, 2016 | DSU 4, MMC 0, DSU 2, MMC 0

YANKTON, S.D. — Dakota State held Mount Marty to five hits in two games as the Trojans swept the Lancers, 4-0 and 2-0, in NAIA baseball action on Saturday at Bob Tereshinski Stadium at Riverside Field.

In the first two games of the year for DSU, starters Taylor Boerger and Connor Nagel each threw five innings for the Trojans allowing zero runs. Nagel took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Travis Neumann recorded a pinch-hit single. The relief pitching was just as good with Richard Sternberg, who struck out five of the seven batters he faced allowing just one hit in the first game, and Brady Wauer’s two perfect innings that earned him a save in the second game.

“Our pitchers were right around the plate all day, they hit their spots real well, so I think pitching made the day for us,” DSU coach Scott Hortness said. “We pitched the ball well and when you pitch well your defense stays alive and I thought we played good defense and got just enough runs to win.”

To complement the pitching, DSU totaled 13 hits on the day and were led by Jake Harris who went 4-for-7, including three hits, a run scored, and a run batted in in the first game. Four of the Trojan’s six runs were scored on productive outs.

“We got a couple of sacrifice flies and a couple of ground balls that scored runs, so we are doing some things right, and we are off to a good start,” Hortness said. “We don’t start looking at the record for a while, but if we play well, the wins will take care of themselves.”

Unlike DSU, Mount Marty is off to a slow start losing after losing three-of-four games to Presentation College the previous weekend and now falling to a 1-5 record after losing two to the Trojans.

“We need some offense,” MMC coach Andy Bernatow said. “Our pitchers have thrown the ball pretty well, well enough for us to knock down some wins, but the offense hasn’t been there.”

With just five hits in two games against DSU, two from Neumann, the Lancers will have to improve on offense to start winning some games. After losing players to graduation a year ago the Lancers are still working on what the lineup will look like day-to-day.

“With having so many new guys, we have to grow as a cohesive unit, that’s first and foremost,” Bernatow said. “We do have to have guys sitting in roles in terms of what they are going to do.

“Then offensively we are not as productive as I want to be and we are in a situation where we are not producing at our level of ability.”

While the Lancer offense need to become more productive, the pitching needs to stay how it was on Saturday with seven pitchers allowing just four earned runs and walking one batter in the two games. Dakota Stone was the star of the day, starting the second game and throwing four innings of shutout baseball on three hits and one strikeout.

“Dakota looked really good, one thing that is promising with that is he started kind of slow with some arm issues and now he’s heading in the right direction,” Bernatow said. “All of our guys today, in terms of throwing strikes and competing, they did a pretty good job.”

The Lancers will have the opportunity to escape the cold weather and heat up the bats as they travel to Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday for a week and will play 10 games.

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