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Dickinson State wins third straight DAC baseball title

VALLEY CITY -- Dickinson State hit four home runs - including a pair of two-run homers in the seventh inning - and did walked away from the Dakota Athletic Conference baseball tournament as the three-time defending champions.

VALLEY CITY -- Dickinson State hit four home runs - including a pair of two-run homers in the seventh inning - and did walked away from the Dakota Athletic Conference baseball tournament as the three-time defending champions.

The fourth-seeded Blue Hawks proved just how much parity there was in the DAC this season, winning all four of its games in the tournament and defeating second-seeded Dakota State 9-6 in the tournament championship game Sunday at Charlie Brown Field.

"It shows how evenly matched our league was this year and how competi-tive it was," DSU coach Duane Monlux said.

With Dakota State leading 4-3 in the fifth inning, Tony Isbell hit his third homer of the tournament, a two-run shot that gave the Blue Hawks a 5-4 advantage.

"Tony Isbell had a phenomenal tournament," Monlux said.

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Scott Tulloch and Mat Larson each had two-run shots in the seventh that increased Dickinson State's lead to 9-4.

The homer was Larson's only at-bat of the day. He came in as a pinch hitter for first baseman Tury Escobedo. Tulloch, meanwhile, finished 3-for-5 and drove in three runs.

"Tulloch has been steady all year long," Monlux said. "He's continued to play like he has all long."

After Dakota State's Greg Biagi hit a two-run homer to open the scoring in the top of the first, DSU center fielder Mark Wiley answered back with a triple. Tulloch drove him in to close the lead to 2-1.

Trojans second baseman Josh Guild homered in the second to increase his team's lead to 3-2 but Dickinson State kept nipping at their heels. Wiley fired back in the third inning with a solo home run.

Dickinson State third baseman Brandon Loveridge added an RBI single, scoring Nolan Bracken in the fourth to again cut Dakota State's lead and set up Tony Isbell's go-ahead home run.

While DSU has won the last three conference tournaments, Monlux believes this was the most special.

"We knew going in, we had to win it," Monlux said.

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Winning the DAC tournament was Dickinson State's only chance of advancing to the NAIA Region III tournament, which begins Wednesday in Mayville. The Blue Hawks find out who they will play on Monday.

Dickinson State got into the championship game with their second consecutive late-game comeback.

Minot State pitcher Tyler Schlagen-hauf had maintained control over the Blue Hawks and had his offensive help him to a 4-3 lead heading into the ninth inning.

However, the Blue Hawks did what they'd been doing all weekend - fought back.

Schlagenhauf was credited with giving up five runs in the ninth - all just one out from putting Dickinson State away and advancing to the title game.

On Saturday afternoon, the Blue Hawks trailed Valley City State by eight runs before scoring nine runs in the eighth inning and breaking a 13-13 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning with Tony Isbell's walk-off two-run homer.

Championship

Dickinson State 9, Dakota State 6

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Dakota 210 100 020 -- 6 14 0

Dickinson 101 120 40x -- 9 16 0

Josh Tomlin, David Morgan (7) and Mike Young. Luis Avila, Tyson Sturza (8) and Scott Tulloch. W-Avila. L-Tomlin. HR-Dickinson State, Tony Isbell, Mat Larson, Mark Wiley, Scott Tulloch; Dakota State, Josh Guild, Greg Biagi

Highlights: Dakota State, Guild 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Biagi 1-for-5, 2 RBI, run; Jeff Savas 2-for-5, RBI. Dickinson State, Wiley 2-for-5, RBI, 2 runs; Tulloch 3-for-5, 3 RBI, run; Isbell 2-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 2B, run; Brandon Loveridge 3-for-4, RBI; Larson 1-for-1, 2 RBI, run; Avila 7 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 6 ER, 11 H; Sturza 2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 ER 3 H.

Dickinson State 8, Minot State 4

DSU 100 002 005 -- 8 12 1

MSU 101 020 000 -- 4 10 2

Tony Isbell, Tyson Sturza (8) and Scott Tulloch. Tyler Schlagenhauf, Denver Wik (9) and Chris Corpe. W-Sturza. L-Schlagenhauf.

Highlights: DSU, Dan Boudreau 2-for-5, 3 runs, 2B, RBI; Mark Wiley 2-for-4, 3B, run; Tulloch 2-for-4, 2 RBI, run; Isbell 3-for-5, 3 RBI, run, 7 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 4 BB; Efrain Ruiz 1-for-5, RBI; Dan Fernandez 1-for-4, RBI, 2B, run; Nolan Bracken 1-for-3, 2B, 2 runs; Sturza 2 IP, 1 H. MSU, Kory Houston 2-for-5; Mike Ronnie 3-for-4, 2 runs; Kerry Boon 1-for-3, RBI; Schlagenhauf 8 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 K, BB.

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