Lions win with tenacity

In the seventh inning, Arkansas-Pine Bluff junior Mike Wieland fouled off about seven pitches in a 12-pitch at bat before finally connecting for a two-run double down the right field line.

It gave UAPB (1-1) its final two runs of the game as the Golden Lions defeated North Dakota State 5-1 Saturday afternoon at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.

“That was a great at-bat,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “It was good that it happened because it is basically what we are trying to build this program around.

“That tenacity, hard work, dedication and fighting. That at-bat summed up what we are trying to be like.”

Freshman Mike Ludwig reached on an error to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt by Dwayne Hysmith to advance Ludwig to second, freshman Dylan Calhoun reached on a walk.

Ludwig stole third but a walk to junior Isias Alcantar loaded the bases for Wieland, a native of Rock Island, Ill.

Wieland’s two RBI double scored Ludwig from third and Calhoun from second. Wieland finished the game 1 for 4.

“My mentality was to see it deep, wait on anything,” Weiland said. “He was working me out and I just kept waiting on my pitch and I got it.”

The Golden Lions also scored two runs in the sixth inning thanks to a two-run double from senior Cody DeMera. The hit scored Alcantar, who reached on a single, and designated hitter Rafael Soto, who reached on an infield hit to third.

“We play hard every game and we don’t take plays off,” Wieland said.

After NDSU’s John Straka pitched a two-hit shutout on Friday, UAPB tallied for seven hits in Saturday’s win. The Golden Lions kept the ball on the ground as they had just five fly ball outs.

“During (batting practice) we made a conscious effort to try to hit the ball on the ground, hit more line drives and go the other way, because the wind was blowing out from left to right,” James said. “We did a better job at it and it helped us out.”

UAPB took a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

With one out, senior Jacob Whitney hit a single. DeMera hit a double to put runners on second and third. Whitney scored on a RBI ground out by sophomore Wilton Guzman.

“We knew our pitchers were going to throw for us after yesterday,” Wieland said. “We just had to show them, we could compete.”

Junior right-hander Kyle Schwartz picked up the victory for UAPB with six innings of work and allowing just three hits with four strikeouts.

“He did a phenomenal job today,” James said. “That’s what you want. Yesterday we struggled to score runs.

“But even when he walked in this morning, he had that mentality, ‘I’m going turn this around and write the ship.

“He did a great job.”

For NDSU (1-1), sophomore David Ernst picked up the loss. He went five innings, allowing one run (earned) on three hits with three strikeouts.

North Dakota State scored its only run in the top of the ninth inning.

DeMera finished the game 2 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs for UAPB. Jacob Whitney had one hit and a run scored. He also reached on a hit by pitch.

Alcantar was 2 for 3 with a pair of singles and a walk.

Junior Mikey Ramirez pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief. He allowed one run (earned) on one hit with a walk and a strikeout.

Junior Redmond Floyd closed out the game with two-thirds inning of work, allowing a walk and a strikeout.

The series will conclude today at 1 p.m.