Devils Lake got 18 hits across two games to beat Fargo South 10-4, 10-0.
Devils Lake head coach Brent Luehring said going into Thursday’s doubleheader against Fargo South that he wasn’t worried about the pitching, but he was hoping that the bats would pick up after just mustering four combined hits in the two losses to West Fargo on this past Tuesday.
The hitting picked up and helped carried the Firebirds to the two-game sweep of the Bruins from Legion Field at Roosevelt Park. April 18th’s games were rescheduled from April 5th that were originally set to be played in Fargo.
The Firebirds combined for 18 hits across the two games.
“I think we had a lot more fun. We looked back on how Tuesday went, we talked about it at practice on Wednesday, the kids didn’t have smiles on their faces and I think they were pressing a little bit. Today, they kind of played loose,” Luehring said.
“These guys ended our season last year in 11 innings so we needed to get this one back on them.”
A two out RBI single by Geoffrey Young that scored Austin Zum gave the Bruins the 1-0 lead after just a half inning of play into Game 1. But things unraveled quickly for South starting pitcher Miles Ulschmid after he gave up consecutive singles to Jacob Greene and Michael Widmer on the Firebirds first at-bat.
Luke Aanstad’s two-run double scored by Greene and Widmer and after Joey Hornstein walked and later stole second putting runners at second and third, a passed ball scored Aanstad putting runners at the corners. Luke Knowski’s RBI single scored Hornstein ending Ulschmid’s day on the mound. With two outs, the Firebirds plated four more runs and when the final out was made, Devils Lake led 8-1.
Parker Vilandre, who pitched six innings and struck out seven, added a run in the bottom of the second inning that pushed the Firebirds lead to 9-1.
The Bruins added two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh but Devils Lake won the first game 10-4 earning an Eastern Dakota Conference win. The Firebirds go into the Easter weekend 1-1 in the EDC.
“For us to get a win in the EDC column it feels pretty good that we can get a jump start on everyone else. Everyone else will have a bunch of games combined in a row whereas we already have two games under our belts,” said Luehring.
Bruins 0, 4 innings
As Hornstein and Aanstad combined to pitch a no-hitter, the Firebirds used another big inning to abbreviate an already shorten Game 2.
The Firebirds scored six runs in the third inning, added three in the bottom of the fourth to complete the sweep by the 10-run mercy rule.
Leading 1-0 after the first inning, Nate Grafsgaard and Greene opened the fourth with back-to-back singles and after Widmer was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Grafsgaard scored on a wild pitch. Aanstad’s second two-run double of the evening scored Greene and Widmer, again, that opened the floodgates. Devils Lake’s final two runs were walked in by the Bruins.
Of the Firebirds 20 runs scored Thursday, 15 were scored in two innings.
The Firebirds improved to 4-2 overall. Fargo South is 0-2 overall, 0-1 in the EDC.
Chris Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ