SUU was able to trim the deficit in the top of the fourth as third baseman Justin Neuhart drove the ball into left to bring in Cuthbertson in from second, pulling the Thunderbirds within two, but the Bison would get the run back on an RBI single from Tim Colwell in the bottom half of the inning and eventually held on for the 4-1 win.
Junior pitcher Kelsey Outram (3-7) took the loss for Southern Utah after allowing four runs, all of which were earned, on five hits over seven innings.
It was the T-Birds who would strike first in the second meeting when Royer hit the ball over the wall down the left-field line with a runner on to put SUU up by two. Cuthbertson then drove a blast out to right in the following at bat to give Southern Utah back-to-back home runs and a 3-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds cruised through the next three innings behind starter Justin Neubauer (6-3) who retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced. The junior lefthander held the Bison scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when they were able to pick up a couple of unearned runs to narrow the SUU advantage to a single run at 3-2.
In the top of the seventh, Royer came through again for Southern Utah with an RBI single up the middle to score DJ Andrade from second and push the lead back to two with the score at 4-2. Neubauer then recorded the final three outs to seal the victory for SUU.
Royer led Southern Utah with three RBIs on the day while Wes Satzinger went 3-for-5 at the plate for NDSU. Luke Anderson (8-2) took the loss for the Bison in the second game after giving up four runs on six hits over seven innings pitched.
Southern Utah will look to even the series Sunday as the two teams meet in a final game scheduled to begin at noon (MT).
SLCC BASEBALL: At Taylorsville, the 5th-ranked Bruins (40-8, 31-6) fell 10-6 and 4-3 to Western Nevada to close out the regular season. The Bruins secured the SWAC title with a series split and will host the Region 18 Tournament beginning on Wednesday.
Kennedy Kinkade provided plenty of offensive power for Salt Lake, finishing with five RBIs on a three-run home run and a two-run home run. Ruddy Acosta took the loss, going three innings and allowing five runs.
Kinkade stayed hot in Game 2, blasting a solo home run in the 7th to bring the Bruins within one run of WNC. Western scored all four of their runs in the first inning and Salt Lake came up one run short. Dominique Taylor drove home a run on a RBI single in the first inning.
DIXIE STATE BASEBALL: At St. George, five pitches after Dixie State saw its nightcap lead evaporate, senior catcher Joe Andrade lifted a solo home run to right field to give the Storm an 8-7 lead. The cushion held thanks to solid bullpen pitching.
The day began with a dominating pitching performance from Cal State Los Angeles starter Jonathan Asakura, as he shut down DSC in a 6-0 win.
Dixie State tallied its 31st win of the season paired with an 18th loss while the Golden Eagles saw their record move to 26-21.
Asakura allowed three singles over seven quality innings in Saturday's opener. The Eagles posted a first inning run and five more in the second to hand Bryce Anderson the loss (4-3).
In the nightcap, both teams plated a pair of runs in the first inning. Colton Yack cashed in Jordan Hanley with a sacrifice fly to right field. Andrade later added an RBI single up the middle.
DSC opened a 6-2 lead after the second inning. Hanley sparked the scoring with an RBI single. Garrett Nash brought in a runner from third on a bouncer to first and Yack put up his second RBI with a single. Cedric Johnson capped the frame with a double off the center field wall.
Yack tallied his third run knocked in with a triple to the gap in right center, scoring Yuto Kata.
CSULA scored four quick runs in the fifth a pinch-hit three-run homer from Andrew Allen. Austin Christiansen entered from the pen and plunked the first man he faced. The junior buckled down and made a nice play to force out a runner at third on a bunt and rolled up an inning-ending double play to cut down the Golden Eagles threat.
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