USF Cougars baseball season ends after loss at NSIC Tournament
USF loses to MN-Duluth in Brandon
BRANDON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The University of Sioux Falls Baseball Team, which won a DII-program best 25 games, had its season end in a 9-4 loss to Minnesota Duluth on Thursday afternoon in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament.The Cougars finished 25-27 under sixth year head coach Grant Hieb, which is the most in the DII era. With a 17-18 league mark, the Cougars also had their best total in the DII era. ”Certainly, I am proud of this team,” said Hieb. “We battled hard in every game all year and fought through some injuries. But you have to hand it to this group – they kept battling. The resilience and strength in character was special. We lose a tremendous group of seniors who gave everything they had. I so glad we had the opportunity to go through some tremendous success,” added Hieb, whose team had 21 or more wins in a second straight season.
For the first time, USF played in its second straight conference tournament. While USF lost to No. 2 seeded St. Cloud State, 10-8, and No. 6 seeded Minnesota-Duluth, 9-4, this is a team that wrote a great story in 2021-22.Against UMD, the Cougars totaled 13 hits and now have 29 over the past two games. USF was led by Brady Klehr who was 3-of-5 with three RBI.
Ben Serie had a pair of hits and two runs score while Connor King added two hits and a run scored.In his final appearance with the USF Baseball Team, senior Matt Graham (4-6) worked 4 2/3 inning and allowed six hits and four earned runs with seven strikeouts and two walks. Also pitching for USF was Mason Leonard (2/3 innings, one hit, two runs); Zachary Shastay (1 2/3 innings, one hit, one strikeout) and Derek Lundgren (one inning, two strikeouts. Ben Shepard (5-4) picked up the win as he allowed nine hits and just one earned run in six innings with six strikeouts and did not walk a batter. Ben Reilley finished with three innings of four-hit relief and he had two strikeouts with two walks.USF opened the scoring on a two-run hit from Klehr but then UMD scored nine straight runs for a 9-2 lead. USF chipped away with runs in the eighth and ninth inning but the rally fell short as UMD advanced and the Cougars dropped its sixth NSIC Tourney game.
Stat Breakdown – As a team, USF hit .283 with 291 runs and 452 hits in 1,600 at bats. USF had 63 doubles and 26 home runs with 605 total bases. USF had a .378 slugging mark and a .370 OBP with 88 stolen bases in 114 attempts. USF recorded 392 putouts and had a .958 fielding mark. On the mound, USF finished at 6.07 earned run average and had 359 strikeouts in 399 innings.Leading the way for USF was Noah Christenson, who in 51 starts at third base, had a .356 batting average, .436 slugging and .403 OBP. Christenson led USF with 67 hits, 41 RBI and stole 13 bases in 14 attempts. Brady Klehr, who also started on USF for the first time, had a big first season with a .348 average in 49 starts. He had six home runs and 10 doubles with 35 RBI and a .522 slugging mark along with a .386 OBP. Klehr stole 10 bases in 14 attempts. Tyler Cate had a .295 average with a .384 OBP and totaled 56 hits with a team-best 43 runs. Senior Trey Hubers hit .290 with 28 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .350 OBP. Senior Kyle Gulbrandson made 25 starts and his .286 with 10 RBI and a .357 OBP. Ben Serie s and senior Grant Lung both hit .280 in making 52 starts. Serie led USF with seven home runs and had a .463 slugging while Lung and a .383 OBP and a team-best 17 steals. Connor King hit .271 with 40 starts in center field and totaled 36 hits, five doubles, 23 RBI, .346 slugging and a team-best .406 OBP. He had eight stolen bases.
On the hill, USF was led by Caleb Ditmarson with a 4-3 record and a 3.70 earned run average with 52 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. Senior Alex Krout finished with a 4.34 earned run average and had eight saves plus 28 strikeouts in 29 innings. Senior Andrew Maslowski had a 4-4 record with 44 strikeouts while Matt Graham had a 4-6 mark with 42 saves.
Recap courtesy USF Athletics
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