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With assist from DSU's Cuch, Blue Hawks reached their mark

The outlook seemed grim at times, said head coach Jason Watson, and their best baseball wasn't always on display, but thanks in part to a three-game winning spurt to close out the trip, the Blue Hawks reached their magic Tucson, Ariz., spring break number.

They hoped for a 7-3 trip, which would get them back to .500 at 10-10 on the season, and that's what they ended up doing.

The defining moment, said Watson, was against Marian (Wisc.) on March 16.

Having dropped a couple of winnable games entering that day, the Blue Hawks sat maxed out on their hopeful number of losses at 4-3.

They got up early on Marian, then blew a lead for a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth, when, after loading the bases with no outs, the Blue Hawks struck out twice and popped out to end the inning.

The Sabres pushed a run across in the top of the 10th inning, then DSU's Jacob Cuch saved the day with a two-run walkoff homer to reroute the Blue Hawks in the right direction.

They went on to win the final two games by a combined 27-7 to reach the desired win-loss mark.

"Jacob came through big for us. I really think that was the big momentum changer," Watson said. "Going into the last two games, our bats got hot. We were really starting to feel good. The one determining factor in us being able to reach that goal was the big momentum swing with Jacob's home run in that eighth game."

3.22 out of 10

In 10 games in Arizona, DSU scored 76 runs and has a batting average through 20 games of .322.

Led by junior Dylan Skabo, who didn't play in any of the eight fall games because of football obligations, is leading the way with an astronomical .537 mark. He has 22 hits in 41 plate appearances.

Senior Sagan Osborne is at .418, with five home runs—more than half the team's total—and 22 RBI and Cuch, a junior, is at a hot .441 through 68 plate appearances.

As Watson noted before the season, should his team struggle this season, it won't have much to do with the offense.

"I've said it all along," Watson said. "That we're going to be able to swing it, be able to put up runs."

The one game the offense was mostly stifled came against nationally ranked Westmont (Calif.), which thumped the Blue Hawks 10-1.

Conference approaches

DSU has one more road bump before it starts its conference schedule this weekend in Aberdeen, S.D., against Presentation College.

They'll meet NCAA Division II Minot State for a double-header in Bismarck this Wednesday. Because Minot's field won't be ready, they'll play at Shiloh Christian High School, a field with all turf, with games to be played at 10 a.m. and noon MT.

The Beavers had conference games last weekend, and, like the Blue Hawks, have more on this weekend's horizon, so the focus, Watson said, may be on saving their best arms for Saturday, not Wednesday.