The UMC baseball team trailed heading into the ninth inning, but a burst of offense gave them the lead, and they held on to beat Minot State 10-6 in the first game of a three-game series in the first round of the NSIC playoff tournament.

UMC’s first two batters struck out, but Mason Ruhlman (Sr. Algonac, Mich) doubled, and Brock Reller (Sr. Fargo, ND) hit a blast to centerfield, the deepest part of the park at 410 feet, and the Beaver centerfield made a diving catch to rob the Golden Eagles of their first run of the game. 

Minot State opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning when the lead-off batter singled, and the next player was hit by a pitch.  After a strikeout, the Beavers singled to score a run for a 1-0 lead. 

UMC answered in the top of the third inning in a big way.  Bobby Chu (Sr. Redwood City, CA) doubled to right field to lead off the inning.  After a fly-out and a ground out, UMC started a two-out rally.  Will Zimmerman (Sr. Park River, ND) walked, and Ruhlman blasted a no-doubt home run over the right-field fence to give the Golden Eagles a 3-1 lead.
Minot State responded with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back home runs to tie the game at 3-3. 

UMC regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning with a Jake Hjelle (Fresh. East Grand Forks) solo home run for a 4-3 lead. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Minot State drew two one-out walks.  Jake Dykhoff (Jr. Wadena) struck out the next batter for his seventh strikeout of the game, but he walked the next batter to load the bases.  The next batter hit a fly ball, and Ben Bryant (Sr. Fargo, ND) made a tremendous catch to get the Golden Eagles out of the jam, and more importantly, they kept a 4-3 lead going into the sixth inning. 

UMC added to their lead in the top of the sixth inning when Scott Finberg (Sr. Stillwater) hit a one-out double.  Hjelle followed with a double of his own to score Finberg, and the Golden Eagles took a 5-3 lead, and Minot State decided to make a pitching change.  The pitching change worked as Minot State got out of the inning without giving up another run.
Minot State answered in the bottom of the inning when the leadoff batter walked, followed by a single.  The next batter grounded out but moved the runners to second and third base.  Minot State’s Mike Malone doubled to score two runs to tie the game at 5-5. After a UMC pitching change, Minot State followed with another single to score a run, taking a 6-5 lead.

Neither team scored in the seventh or eighth innings to set up a huge final inning. UMC did what they have all year long and came through with some big runs when needed the most. Parker Stroh (Fresh. Grand Forks, ND) led off with a pinch-hit single to right field. After an out, Bryant and Zimmerman worked consecutive four-pitch walks to load the bases. Ruhlman capitalized on the opportunity with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Stroh and tie the game at 6-6. Reller was next, and he hit a soft fly ball to shallow left field that just got over the shortstop’s glove. The ball had a lot of sideways spin, and the left fielder misjudged it, and it bounced past him. That allowed Bryant to score from second, Zimmerman to score from first to give the Golden Eagles an 8-6 lead. One pitch later, Finberg blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence to add some huge insurance runs. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, UMC led 10-6.
UMC brought in their closer, Brody Sorenson (Fresh. Grand Forks, ND) to finish off the game. He allowed a leadoff single. The next batter hit a grounder up the middle that looked like it was going to be a base hit, but Bryant made a diving stop, used his glove to flip the ball to Tyler Jochen (Jr. San Jose, CA) at second, and he threw on to first to complete the double play. Sorenson got the next batter to fly out, and the Golden Eagles completed their comeback in game one of the three-game series.

UMC improves to 24-10 overall and Minot State is now 24-16 overall on the year.
Game two of the series will be played on Friday at 3:00 pm, with the pre-game show on KROX Radio at 2:30 p.m.
If UMC wins, they move on to the second round of the playoffs.  If Minot State wins, they will play a third and final game to decide who moves on to the next round. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
UMC 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 0 5 10 13 1
MSU 0 1 2 0 0 3 0 0 0 6 8 0


Pitching IP H R ER BB K
Jake Dykhoff- UMC 5.1 7 6 6 4 7
Alex Koep – UMC 0.2 1 0 0 1 0
Tyler Hegg- UMC 1.1 0 0 0 1 3
Jackson Schneider- UMC 1.0 0 0 0 2 0
Brody Sorenson 1.0 1 0 0 0 0
RJ Martinez- MSU 5.1 8 5 5 1 9
Craig Schmich – MSU 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
Jordan Chappell- MSU 2.0 1 0 0 2 2
Aaron Kern- MSU 1.0 4 5 5 2 1

Mason Ruhlman – 3 for 4, 4 RBI, run, home run, double
Jake Hjelle – 3 for 4, 2 RBI, run, home run, 2 doubles
Bobby Chu – 2 for 3, run, double
Scott Finberg- 2 for 5, 2 RBI, 2 runs, home run, double

For Minot State
Nolan Monthei- 2 for 3, 2 RBI, run, home run
Ryley Humrighouse- 2 for 5, RBI, run
Kaiden Cardoso- 1 for 4, RBI, run, home run
Matt Malone- 1 for 5, 2 RBI, run, double