GRAND FORKS, N.D. – North Dakota scored nine runs over the first five innings of the game and held the Hornets to just six hits in a 10-0 victory in eight innings on Saturday in Grand Forks.
North Dakota (15-20, 9-8 WAC) moved back into a tie with the Hornets in the WAC standings as the WAC 10-run rule ended the game in the eighth inning. UND forced a rubber game in the weekend series on Sunday after Sacramento State (22-20, 9-8 WAC) won the series opener, 5-1, on Friday.
After a three-hit game on Friday Hornet senior shortstop Scotty Burcham had two more hits on Saturday. Junior Nathan Lukes had a single and a walk and is now just 11 hits shy of the program career record, and Burcham is now tied with former Hornet David Del Grande for seventh on the career hits list.
The Hornets loaded the bases but didn't score in the top of the first and UND took a 1-0 lead in the bottom half following a leadoff triple from Dalton Parrott. North Dakota scored twice more in the second inning on RBI hits from Parrott and Tyler Folis, then blew the game open with four runs on five hits, all with two out, in the fourth inning.
The home team added two runs in the fifth inning. After two scoreless frames North Dakota got consecutive single to open the bottom of the eighth followed by a wild pitch and scored a 10th run on a sacrifice fly from catcher Brett Harrison to put the WAC 10-run rule into effect and end the game.
North Dakota totaled 18 hits in the game, a season high against Sacramento State's typically stingy pitching staff. Parrott, Follis, and Dalton Leuschke each had three hits with Follis driving in three runs. Three other UND players had two hits in the game while starting pitcher Zach Muckenhirn went the distance for his first career shutout allowing just six hits and three walks with six strikeouts.
Sophomore Justin Dillon was the first of five Sacramento State pitchers in the contest and saw his record drop to 5-4 on the season with the loss. The win was the first ever victory for North Dakota over Sacramento State after the Hornets won the first four meetings between the teams over the last two years.
In the rubber game of the weekend series at 10 a.m. Pacific Time Sunday Hornet sophomore Sam Long will face North Dakota senior righty Alex Twenge.