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Cougars Split Crucial Two-Gamer With Mary

Damian Kardas, University of Sioux Falls Cougars
University of Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, SD — The University of Sioux Falls baseball team (16-20, 11-11) split a pair of NSIC contests with the University of Mary (15-13-1, 6-7) tonight at Augustana College’s Ronken Field.

The weather was beautiful in the opener, but it wasn’t very pretty for the Cougars. Derek Fischer gave up three homers and four runs in the worst outing of his collegiate career and the Cougars dropped game one 5-0. Noah Coleman twirled a three-hitter to spark the Cougars to a 4-0 win in the nightcap.

With the split, the Cougars slipped from sixth to eighth place in the NSIC standings. The top eight teams will qualify for next month’s NSIC postseason tournament.

Fischer (3-7) had surrendered a single home run in three seasons at USF but there was clearly something in the air tonight.  In the second shortest outing of his career, he allowed four runs on four hits and struck out seven. It didn’t help that he received no run support with the Cougars managing four hits in total.

U-Mary senior outfielder Marice Burrough poked the very first pitch Fischer offered over the right field fence to give the Marauders a 1-0 advantage after one.

Fischer retaliated by striking out the next three batters and he faced the minimum through the next two innings. The big blow came in the fourth, however, when the Marauders went deep in consecutive at-bats after a lead-off hit by pitch to increase the margin to 4-0.

Damian Kardas relieved Fischer in the fifth and yielded one run on three hits the rest of the way.

U-Mary senior ace Jeff Skadeland provided the Marauders five solid innings. He allowed no runs, three hits and four walks, and struck out one. Skadeland was pulled after the fifth and Shane Trattles pitched two innings of one-hit relief.

U-Mary out-hit the Cougars, 6-4. Freshman Noah Durkin continued to wield the Cougars’ hottest bat, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk. Corey Vasquez and Kelby Beste had the other hits.

Coleman (5-3, 2.58 ERA) was dominant from the start, needing all of eight pitches to send the Marauders down in order in the bottom of the first inning.

It’s the fourth win in a row for Coleman, who boasts a conference ERA of 0.83 and has given up three earned runs total to NSIC opponents this season.

His teammates gave him a lead in the fourth inning. Damian Kardas lashed a lead-off triple and Beste singled him home with a bullet to right field. Kardas was at the top of the order again in the sixth and reached first base on a dropped third strike. A sacrifice and walk put runners on first and second, and Kardas scored when Dylan Dwyer pushed a base hit to right field.

In the seventh, the Cougars sandwiched Durkin’s lead-off base knock and a walk around a sacrifice before Trevor Crow knocked a seeing-eye single to the short stop to plate Durkin. One pitch after that, Kardas doubled home Vasquez for the Cougars’ fourth and final tally.

The runs were plenty for Coleman, who scattered three hits across eight masterful innings. The Broomfield, Colo., native struck out five and walked two. Henry Ojeda pitched a hitless ninth, fanning two.

Kardas went 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored. Beste and Crow each collected an RBI hit. The Cougars out-hit U-Mary, 8-3, struck out nine times and committed three errors in the field.

The Cougars will travel to St. Paul, Minn., this weekend for a four-game (Sunday-Monday) series with the Golden Bears.

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Courtesy:University of Sioux Falls

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