STANFORD, Calif. — The North Dakota State baseball team rebounded nicely from Friday's opening-round loss in the NCAA Stanford Regional, scoring four runs in the first and cruising behind solid pitching to a 6-1 win over Nevada in an elimination game Saturday at Sunken Diamond.
The Bison, now 42-18, play the loser of Saturday's game between opening-round winners Stanford and UC Irvine at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 6.
The win is NDSU's first in the program's NCAA Division I era and came after a 9-1 loss to Stanford on Friday.
"I honestly slept pretty good last night knowing that every time we have a bad game and get beat pretty good, we usually respond really well," said Bison head coach Tod Brown.
Peter Brookshaw and Bennett Hostetler got the first-inning fireworks lit immediately. Brookshaw tripled with one out and, one pitch later, Hostetler hit a two-run home run to left, his second homer of the tournament and 10th of the season, for a 2-0 lead.
The next man up, Tucker Rohde, walked and Charley Hesse singled. After a Nevada pitching change, Zach Solano doubled in Rohde and Nick Emanuel was intentionally walked to load the bases. Jack Simonsen then lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Hesse for a 4-0 lead.
Hostetler, the Summit League Player of the Year, stressed one word, maturity, as the key to the Bison's ability to put losses behind them.
"Just being able to bounce back, kind of forget about yesterday and go out there and compete the next day," he said.
And Brown stressed two words for the hot start.
"Great players," he said. "Honestly, it's as simple as that. When you have good players and you let them play, they perform like they did today."
Brookshaw hit his second triple of the game leading off the home half of the second inning and scored on Rohde's single to left-center. Solano hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot, in the seventh.
Solano's big day drew praise from Brown.
"Coming into the season, (Solano) was a part-time to no-time player," Brown said of Solano, who is hitting .267 and is second on the team with 11 doubles. "He's always been really good defensively but he struggled with the bat. We kept putting him in there for defense and he really started to come around with the bat and he started earning more playing time. I can't be more happy for Zach Solano. He's had a tremendous year for us and he's a big reason why we're here."
The early run support was plenty for starter and winner Cade Feeney and reliever Parker Harm.
Feeney went six, allowing a run on four hits, walking two and striking out three.
Feeney, a freshman from Bismarck Century, set the tone in the top of the first inning, Brown said.
"He looked in full command of his pitches, looked poised, did not look rattled," Brown said. "First time starting an NCAA regional and he was playing high school baseball last year."
Harm allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings, didn't issue a walk and struck three of the nine men he faced.
Brown said the first Division I tournament win is a "good measuring stick" for future Bison players but that it wasn't the only goal entering the regional.
"It's just a number but we want to go out and win another one (Sunday)," Brown said. "We have a lot of quality pitching left and I know our guys are hungry to stay in California."