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Blue Hawks split with Vikings

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson State junior catcher Ryan Risse, right, is congratulated by coaches and teammates after hitting a solo home run in the first game of a doubleheader against Valley City State on Saturday at Astoria Field and Southside Municipal Ballpark.

The Dickinson State baseball team ended its four-game losing streak with an opening win against Valley City State.

However, the Blue Hawks couldn’t finish off the sweep against the Vikings on Saturday.

DSU used a solid pitching performance from Eric Contreras to take a 6-4 win during the opening game, but VCSU responded with a 23-8 win in the second game at Astoria Field and Southside Municipal Ballpark.

“The difference between game one and game two was pitching,” DSU head coach Jason Watson said. “I believe 10 walks and three hit by pitches scored. That’s 13 runs right there. That’s big when it comes down to situational stuff. Obviously, giving up 23 runs is unacceptable and we beat ourselves in the second game.

“In the first game, Eric did very well for us. Eric set the tempo, he kept us there and we had some big hits.”

Contreras threw 105 pitches. However, two pitches accounted for all four of VCSU’s runs. The right-handed junior pitched seven innings, allowed four runs on four hits and struck out six.

The Vikings’ Cole Honl took advantage of a pair of mistake pitches. The senior designated hitter had a pair of two-run home runs in the first and third innings. Contreras exacted a little revenge by striking out Honl in the sixth.

“I know that making mistakes is part of the game,” Contreras said. “You are going to make mistakes here and there and some hitters are going to capitalize on them more. I’ve realized that failure is part of this game. You have to take something from it rather than getting down on yourself.”

In the opening game, the Blue Hawks (5-21) received a boost from the No. 8 hitter and junior center fielder Caleb Burgard.

The Dickinson High School graduate ripped a three-run double to clear the bases with no outs. Burgard came around to score on an Eric Seiler RBI sacrifice fly.

“Coming up in that spot, I was just looking for something to drive,” said Burgard, who finished 2 for 3 with three RBI and scored two runs in the first game. “I was up there looking for my pitch and luckily I got it right away.”

Burgard also scored for the final run in the sixth inning as junior catcher Ryan Risse hit a RBI single past the second baseman. Risse supplied the game-winning run in the fourth on a solo home run to left field.

During the second game, VCSU (10-19) scored two runs in the first inning and didn’t stop there. The Vikings scored at least one run in eight of the nine innings.

VCSU biggest boost came from back-to-back four-run innings in the third and fourth.

Anthony Myer and Jake Rambow supplied back-to-back RBI doubles. Myer drove in Tom Houdek, while Rambow brought home Myer. Brady Anderson’s two-run home run in the fourth inning was the final batter DSU left-handed sophomore Eric Seiler faced.

The Vikings batters tallied 16 hits as Brady Anderson led going 4 for 5 — including hitting for the cycle — with eight RBI and scored five runs. Houdek and Anthony Necochea each supplied four RBI. Houdek also hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning.

“It was a tale of two games,” VCSU head coach Casey Olney said. “In the first game, we got four hits and that was it. You have to credit Dickinson’s pitcher. He did a nice job. In the second game, we kind of got things rolling and put some pressure on them. We had some big innings and for us it worked well.”

Seiler pitched three innings and gave up eight runs on five hits. Taylor Kraenzel came on in relief and threw two innings and allowed four runs. Brock Overbo, Sean White, Chad Mosbrucker, Cole Steinbeisser and Jake Coyle combined for the final four innings.

The Blue Hawks continue their weekend series with the Vikings at 11 a.m. today. The doubleheader marked DSU’s and VCSU’s first conference games.

“We talked about that our true season started (on Saturday),” Watson said. “They all know what’s at stake now with the conference season starting. They are focused and they know what we have to do to be successful.”

VCSU 202 000 0 — 4 4 2

DSU 040 101 x — 6 8 0

Bryce Venaas and Dan Buehner. Eric Contreras and Ryan Risse.

W–Contreras. L–Venaas. HR–VCSU, Cole Honl (2). DSU, Risse.

Highlights: VCSU, Honl 2 for 3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 runs; Tom Houdek 1 for 3; Buehner 1 for 3. DSU, Caleb Burgard 2 for 3, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs; Risse 2 for 3, HR, 2 RBI, run; Eric Seiler 2 for 2, RBI; Jeff VanCleave 1 for 3, run; Chris Mjelstad 1 for 3, run.

VCSU 204 411 236 — 23 16 0

DSU 110 020 400 — 8 14 5

Mike Gershman, Brandon Welinski (7), Jaime Villarreal (9) and Brady Anderson. Eric Seiler, Taylor Kraenzel (4), Brock Overbo (6), Steinbeisser (8), Sean White (8), Chad Mosbrucker (9), Jake Coyle (9) and Ryan Risse.

W–Gershman. L–Seiler. HR–VCSU, Anderson, Tom Houdek.

Highlights: VCSU, Anderson 4 for 5, 8 RBI, 5 runs, HR, 2B, 3B; Anthony Necochea 3 for 5, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 runs; Cole Honl 3 for 4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 3 runs; Houdek 1 for 5, 4 RBI, 2 runs; Hayden Johnson 1 for 4, RBI, 2 runs; Jake Rambow 1 for 2, 2B, 2 RBI, run; Anthony Myer 1 for 4, 2B, RBI, 2 runs; Derek Elliot 1 for 3, 2 runs; Kayl Hamre 3 runs. DSU, Chris Mjelstad 3 for 4, 2B, 3 RBI, run; Jordan Tescher 3 for 3, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Eric Contreras 3 for 5, 3 2B, RBI, 2 runs; Austin Taft 2 for 5, 2B, run; Sam Bisson 1 for 2; Thad Lane 1 for 4, RBI; Caleb Burgard 1 for 5, RBI.