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HBU Downs North Dakota, 7-1; Advances to Championship Game

Stephen Nikonchik threw a complete game gem to lead HBU to the championship game.

Stephen Nikonchik threw a complete game gem to lead HBU to the championship game.

May 27, 2011

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Houston Baptist 7, North Dakota 1 (Box Score) Get Acrobat Reader

Houston Baptist received another complete-game effort as Stephen Nikonchik allowed only one run while striking out six as the Huskies rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the fifth to defeat North Dakota, 7-1, in the 2011 Great West Conference Tournament at North Dakota's Kraft Memorial Field.

With the win, HBU (22-39) advances to the championship game against regular season champion Utah Valley as the two teams will play on Saturday at 1 p.m. If HBU wins that game, the two will play again at approximately 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Nikonchik improves to 5-4 with the win while UND's Sam Anderson falls to 2-7 in the losing effort.

Both teams squandered chances early as both squads loaded the bases - HBU in the first and second and UND in the second - but the starters got out of the innings unscathed.

North Dakota (12-35) broke the scoreless tie in the third on a Kris Kwak RBI single to left field, scoring Andy Sadler from second.

The Fighting Sioux would keep that lead until the fifth when HBU's Robbie Buller recorded an RBI groundout.

HBU - the tournament's No. 3 seed - led for the first time in the game with a two-run seventh. Buller collected his second RBI of the game and Jake Gonzalez produced an RBI sacrifice fly.

The Huskies tagged the Sioux with four runs in the eighth for a commanding 7-1 advantage. Kolby Arnst and Gonzalez collected RBI as HBU took advantage of two UND fielding errors.

Beau Warren led HBU with a 4-for-5 effort while each of the top-four batters had two hits.