VALLEY CITY, N.D. (VCSUVikings.com)- Emmanuel Leyva hit a go-ahead 3-run home run in the bottom of the third inning and Jesse Johnson and Max Koprek combined to pitch five innings of scoreless relief Tuesday night as the Valley City State baseball team won its season opener against Mayville State, 4-2.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning, Leyva gave the Vikings the lead for good when he drilled a 2-1 pitch over the left-field fence, scoring Austin Smith and Grant Wehseler for 4-2 lead.
That’s all the runs the Viking pitching and defense would need as they gave up just two hits the rest of the way. Andrew Hirsch picked up the win after pitching the third and fourth innings, allowing two hits and one unearned run. Jesse Johnson was dominant, giving up just one hit in 3 2/3 innings, and then Max Koprek earned the save after closing the game with 1 1/3 no-hit innings.
Nicholas Vargas started on the mound for VCSU, allowing three hits and a run in two innings of work. Mayville State manufactured a run in the top of the first, using a walk, stolen base, ground out and sacrifice fly to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Vikings answered back in the bottom of the inning when Brady Smith led off with a single and came around to score on a double to right-center by Grant Wehseler. Mayville State regained the lead after Jonathan Folena’s RBI groundout in the top of the third. It would be short-lived though as Leyva’s blast put the Vikings ahead for good.
Wehseler and Smith both drew walks to put runners on first and second in the bottom of the third. Mayville State made a pitching change as Makaio Duyao came on to face Leyva, who promptly deposited Duyao’s fourth pitch over the left-field fence.
Valley City State finished with four runs on nine hits. The Vikings committed three errors and left six runners on base. Mayville State had two runs on six hits. The Comets committed just one error in the contest and left eight runners on base.
Smith went 3-for-4 from the leadoff position and scored a run for VCSU. Catcher Alejandro Gutierrez was 2-for-4 at the plate, and Leyva finished 1-for-4 with three RBIs. Wehseler was 1-for-3 with a run and RBI. Ryan Sand and Kody Lane each had a hit as well.
Six different Comets recorded hits in the game. Nygaard and Folena each had an RBI. Austin Herrington took the loss for Mayville, pitching 2 1/3 innings and giving up three hits and three runs. Kalton Agnes and Mason Swegarden were strong in relief, combining for five scoreless innings on the mound.
Up next: Valley City State (1-0) travels to University of Jamestown on Wednesday, Sept. 20. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
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