Pitching keys Panthers' sweep
David Dirks threw a two-hit shutout to give the Park Rapids baseball team a Mid-State Conference doubleheader sweep over Pequot Lakes Thursday at the Area High School field.
Cory Odland and Tyler McCollum combined on a four-hitter as the Panthers won the first game 6-4.
Dirks followed with a complete-game effort as Park Rapids earned the sweep with a 10-0 win in six innings in the second game.
In the opener, Sam Coborn went 3 for 4 and scored three runs and Odland went 3 for 3 with two RBI to lead the Panthers' 11-hit attack.
After Pequot Lakes used a pair of walks and an error to score three times in the first, the Panthers tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a triple by Coborn, an RBI double by Kyle Goplerud, an RBI triple by Chris Goplerud and an RBI single by Odland.
Coborn singled and scored on Dirks' grounder in the second and singled and scored on Dirks' single in the fourth to give Park Rapids a 5-3 lead.
Kyle Goplerud walked and scored on Odland's RBI single in the fifth to end the scoring.
Odland picked up the win, allowing four runs on three hits and six walks over the first five innings. Odland struck out seven. McCollum gave up one hit over the final two innings for the save.
In the second game, Odland went 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBI and Erickson went 2 for 3 with two RBI in leading the Panthers to the sweep.
Zach Eystad singled and scored on Coborn's RBI single in the third before an error, Jordan Eischens' RBI double and Eystad's RBI single led to two more runs in the fourth.
Dirks singled and Kyle Goplerud walked to lead off the fifth to set up a two-run triple by Odland, who scored on Erickson's sacrifice fly, as the Panthers led 6-0.
Park Rapids ended the game by scoring four more times in the sixth on RBI singles by Chris Goplerud and Odland and Erickson's RBI double.
Dirks struck out five and walked two to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The sweep lifted the Panthers to 3-2 in conference play and 5-4 overall. Pequot Lakes fell to 2-7 against Mid-State opponents and 5-7 overall.
"Smacking the ball around was the key to sweeping Pequot Lakes. So far this season we have not seen the boys hit the ball like that. When you put the ball in play, good things happen. We challenged the boys to attack the first good pitch they see instead of waiting to go deep into the count," said Park Rapids head coach Zach Holsman. "At the midway point of the regular season, the boys have shown a new side of themselves as a team. They know how to win rather than simply compete. We certainly have much more to accomplish yet as the season continues and much more to prove."