Cougars Earn Saturday Split, Take 3 of 4 from MSU
A walk-off single led USF to a 5-4 win, while Minot State posted a 6-2 victory in the second half of the double header, as the Cougars (7-22) took three out of four at home in a weekend series with Beavers (6-22) at Harmodon Park.
In the opener, USF gave its fans something to cheer about for the third straight game, as sophomore Brandon Madsen drilled the first walk-off RBI of his career to give the Cougars a 5-4 victory in game one.
The Beavers jumped ahead 3-0 after two innings, but the Cougars posted single runs in the third, fourth and fifth frames to tie to game at 3-3.
Dylan Dwyer got on base the hard way with a lead off hit by pitch in the bottom of the third and later scored on a steal of home. The next inning, Jimmy Maxwell belted his ninth two-sacker of the year and came around to score on a two-out triple by Brennden Ward. Dwyer drew a lead-off walk in the fifth, took second on a sacrifice by Brandon Madsen and scored when Austin Goodenow dropped a perfect bunt in front of the pitcher and beat the throw for an RBI single.
The game was still tied going into the ninth inning, when the Beavers converted back-to-back two out base on balls and an error by the USF first baseman into the go-ahead run.
Keith Cutler opened the bottom of the ninth with a keystone hit and was sacrificed to third by Ward. Coleman followed with a double, scoring Austin Burke who pinch ran for Cutler. Dwyer was given a free pass to put runners at first and second for Madsen. After taking a first-pitch strike, the Raymond (Minn.), native knocked a base hit to right field to score Coleman and end the game.
Andrew Christensen (1-2) tossed the final inning for the Cougars and picked up his first win of the season. The southpaw gave up one unearned run with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. Chris Nichols was outstanding in long relief of Cougar starter Eric Brothers. Nichols scattered two hits in six scoreless innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
Each squad posted eight hits. Seven different Cougars had a base knock in the game, led by Coleman's 2-for-4 effort.
Game two was a different story, as the visiting Beavers put up a four-spot in the first and added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh to coast to a 6-2 win and salvage a game in the four-game weekend series.
USF senior righty Brady Nolz (0-7) was tagged with his seventh loss of the year as the Cougar offense failed to provide him with much run support, posting single runs in the second and seventh while also leaving eight runners stranded.
The Cougars' two runs were scored courtesy of a solo shot by Coleman in the second and a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh by Maxwell.
Both teams recorded seven hits. Maxwell was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Dwyer had two hits.
USF will host Briar Cliff on Tuesday. First pitch of the single nine-inning game is set for 4:00 p.m.