Fischer, Brothers Pitch USF to Sweep of Beavers
YANKTON, SD — The University of Sioux Falls’ superb starting pitching continued Sunday afternoon, as the Cougars (15-19, 10-10) knocked off Minot State 5-1 in the opening game of a double header before routing the hapless Beavers 10-0 in a mercy-rule shortened game two.
The Cougars unloaded on Minot State (10-16, 2-10) pitchers all weekend long, racking up 54 total hits in the four-game sweep. The series was moved to Riverside Park in Yankton.
“It was a big weekend for us, as we were able to get our first ever NSIC sweep,” said sixth-year head coach Matt Guiliano. “It puts us back in playoff contention, which was the main goal in our first year in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.”
With the sweep, the Cougars jumped two spots to sit in sixth place in the conference. The top eight teams will qualify for the NSIC tournament and with only 10 league contests remaining, every win is critical down the stretch.
Junior ace Derek Fischer (3-6, 2.98 ERA) has lived up to his billing all season long. His latest gem came on Sunday morning as he pitched six-hit ball over seven innings for his second win of the week. Fischer, who pitched a six-hit shutout on April 16 in the Cougars’ 4-0 win over Southwest Minnesota State, struck out nine and walked three. He didn’t allow a hit until the third inning, which would be Minot State’s only major threat. The Beavers drew a pair of walks off Fischer and a left field two-out double led to their only run. Fischer’s teammates took care of the rest in the third, as Damian Kardas, Corey Vasquez and backstop Dylan Dwyer combined for a nifty 7-6-2 that put the advancing runner out at the plate.
Freshman outfielder Noah Durkin provided much of the firepower for the hot-swinging Cougars. With two outs on the scoreboard, the Littleton, Colo., native belted a three-run double in the third and added a fourth inning sacrifice fly that gave USF the 4-1 advantage. Durkin scored the game’s final run in the seventh on a fielding error by the MSU pitcher.
Durkin went 10-for-15 (.666) with eight RBI in the four-game series against the Beavers and scored six runs.
The Cougars had 10 hits in the opener. Durkin, Vasquez, Dwyer and Zach Ireland tallied two hits apiece.
Game two was never in doubt, as sophomore Eric Brothers (3-3) pitched a complete-game one-hit shutout and USF mercied the Beavers 10-0 in seven innings.
Brothers carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and surrendered just two walks while fanning seven.
The Cougars got all the offense they needed in the second inning, exploding for five two-out hits off MSU starter Austin Zorn (2-2) to grab the 4-0 advantage. Dwyer drove in the fifth run with a bunt single in the third and the Cougars tacked on three more in the fourth which included a two-run homer from fifth-year senior Vasquez—the first of his college career.
In the seventh, Ireland’s sacrifice fly scored pinch runner Wesley Kroupa before Dwyer scored on a wild pitch after singling to center on a 3-2 count. Brothers sent the Beavers down in order in the bottom of the seventh to put the mercy rule into effect.
USF belted 16 hits in game two and were paced by Durkin and Dwyer, who each finished with 3-for-4 efforts. Vasquez knocked in three runs on two hits and scored a run. Jeremy Varner and Kelby Beste also had two base hits apiece.
The Cougars left eight men on base and recorded a season-low two strikeouts.
USF will travel to the University of Mary on Wednesday.
Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls