Nitzke, Big Sticks leash Huskies in 9-0 home shutout

May 29—DICKINSON — In a powerful start to the 2024 season, the Badlands Big Sticks secured a 9-0 victory, showcasing standout performances from pitcher Sam Nitzke and right-fielder Dane Jones. Nitzke's five strikeouts and Jones' home run thrilled the crowd at Dakota Community Bank and Trust Ballpark. Learn how the 'Sticks dominated from the first inning to the final out in this season opener.

"The key to this game was our hitters were disciplined at the plate," Big Sticks manager Jordan Price said. "They took their hacks when it was time, but they really laid-off and got on base to make some good things happen."

The Big Sticks outperformed the Huskies with 9 hits, as Nitzke limited Duluth to 4 hits. The relief staff—Jack Soares, Alex James, and Dimitrios Bourmas—kept the visitors hitless and struck out 2 more batters in the final three innings.

The hosts took an early lead with a walk to centerfielder Quade Peters, who stole second and scored on a double by Dickinson native and third-baseman Troy Berg. Berg then scored on a single from Carpenter. Peters finished 1-for-3 with 2 runs, an RBI, and 2 stolen bases.

In the bottom of the fourth, the 'Sticks scored again on a single from second-baseman Ty Nekoliczak, who scored on an error during Peters' next at-bat. The hosts continued to capitalize on their momentum.

The Big Sticks secured a 10-5 victory on Monday with a 6-run fourth inning and a strong pitching performance by Tyler Conklin. On May 28, they added 3 runs in the fifth inning, sparked by Jones' leadoff home run. Designated-hitter Evan Applewick reached second on an error, and backstop Mason Strong advanced him to third on another error before first-baseman Cooper Hill drove in Applewick with an RBI single. Strong then scored on a sacrifice fly from shortstop Tristan Ellis, who went 2-for-3 with a double and a steal, giving the Big Sticks a 6-0 lead.

Carpenter's 2-run double in the seventh inning further extended the lead, and the 'Sticks added an insurance run in the eighth to secure a 9-0 shutout.

"He (Nitzke) pounded the strike-zone, but Mason Strong called a heckuva game behind the plate," Price said. "He's really good back there and deserves some credit, too."

Next, the Big Sticks will travel to Willmar, Minn., to play the Stingers on Wednesday and Thursday, May 29-30, followed by a trip to Eau Claire, Wisc., on Thursday and Friday. The team returns to DCB&TB to face the St. Cloud Rox on Wednesday, June 5, at 6:35 p.m.

Price added, "I'm excited: It's going to be new for us (the road-trip) because it's going to be all new places and the guys are excited and they're feeling really good right now being 2-0, so we'll go have some fun."

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