Multiple times in their series against Dakota State University the Blue Hawks found themselves with two strikes, bases loaded and two outs; a clutch hit was critical — but fate would have it that when it mattered most, the bats went cold.

Dickinson State University hosted a weekend series against Trojans at The Dakota Community Bank & Trust Ballpark. It all began Saturday afternoon with both teams set for a close match knowing that this would be a well contested series — a fact proved after both settled with a split.

Though the last two games ended in a loss for the Blue Hawks, Coach Mike Dahl could only smile as he said, “That's baseball.”

Saturday saw two victories for the Blue Hawks with game one ending in 6-3 and the game two results being 6-2.

Though both teams stuck to defensive play in game one, where the first inning saw zero runs, it was in the second inning when the Trojans gained three points after Josh Van Beek hit a three run homer. This did not hamper DSU's form as they would rally back and score their first point in the third inning before finding momentous success in the fourth inning with five additional runs, enough to claim the win.

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“Our hitters are getting on base to start and we are having clutch hits with guys running in scoring positions so that's huge,” said Dahl. “Anytime your guys get into scoring position and guys have clutch hits... drive in runs... that's pretty much how the offense needs to work.”

In game two, Dickinson State University continued putting in work on the pitching mound, as Jacob Scully would go six innings before passing the baton to senior Nathan Delahanty to close the final inning. Between the two, they only allowed two runs and eight hits through the entirety of the game as Delahanty allowed no runs in the final frame. Confidence soared throughout the game as the Blue Hawks held the lead starting in the second inning and would not relinquish it.

Senior Nathan Delahanty. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)
Senior Nathan Delahanty. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

“It's a lot easier to play from the lead than it is from behind. Puts all the pressure on them and we can still play loose and free,” Coach Dahl said. “So if we can go out there again, have shut down innings, or minimal damage then we can come back and score more runs.”

Not all plans come to fruition, and unfortunately that was the case when game three on Saturday brought inclement weather and cold bats.

Game three ended in a 2-6 loss, as the Blue Hawks were unable to collect runs until the sixth inning — well behind the Trojans who steadley increased their lead throughout.

“I think we ran into a few pitches that we left over the middle of plate into the barrels in the beginning of the game, and they took advantage of it; got some base hits, got a few runs. They just chipped at us all game,” Dahl said. “Their starting pitcher really held our offense down until we got to him and was just too little too late...they could go to their bull pin and pick who they wanted to throw.”

The series finished on Saturday with game four starting at 4 p.m. as Dakota State University gained a huge advantage in the first inning, bringing seven runs across and sealing the Blue Hawks fate. DSU would rally scoring 3 points in the fifth and an additional point in the seventh, but the contest was out of reach with a final score of 4-11.

“It came to that first inning where we couldn’t get an out, left some pitches over the plate, walked a few guys, they got a few clutch hits; It was one of those waterfall effects as we call it. Nothing was going our way and everything was going theirs,” Dahl said. “We still played pretty well… Anytime you get a split on a conference weekend you’ll take it. We didn’t really help ourselves by not winning the series, but we also didn’t lose the series. Conference wise, record wise we are exactly where we need to be. I would take a split every weekend series rather than lose”

The weekend series ended in a split with DSU conference record now being 10-9. They will be on the road this week with a non-conference game against Jamestown and on Saturday they will have their next conference weekend series away, against Mayville State University.