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College baseball: UMD stays alive in NSIC tournament with win over Cougars

Shepard leads the way in error-filled game as Bulldogs move on in double-elimination play.

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BRANDON, S.D. — Senior Ben Shepard pitched six strong innings to lead Minnesota Duluth to a 9-4 victory over Sioux Falls in an elimination game Thursday at the NSIC baseball tournament at FNB Field.

Shepard, a 6-foot right-hander from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, scattered nine hits and allowed only one earned run, with six strikeouts and no walks. Freshman Ben Reilley pitched the final three innings and didn’t allow an earned run, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Three of the four runs yielded by UMD were unearned as the Bulldogs committed three errors on a windy 85-degree day in Brandon. Sioux Falls, meanwhile, committed two errors leading to three unearned runs.

Freshman Ethan Cole had three hits, including a double, two runs and an RBI to pace the UMD offense while sophomore Austin Gordon added a two-run double to go along with two walks and two runs. Fifth-year senior Brodie Paulson also contributed two runs for the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (23-24), who needed to win to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament after falling 20-4 to third-seeded Minnesota State-Mankato in Wednesday’s opener.

Brady Klehr had three hits and three RBIs to lead the seventh-seeded Cougars (25-27), who led 2-0 after the first inning before UMD erupted for three runs in the second and three more in the third.

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UMD is scheduled to play the loser of the Winona State/Augustana game at 7 p.m. Thursday but the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

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