2016 Dutchmen Flourish in Fall Ball

By: Ryan Murphy

Nate Harris (Louisiana Tech)

As 2016 comes to a close, a number of Dutchmen from this past season prepared for the coming year with top performances during the fall campaign. Below, we profile nine Dutchmen alumni who had solid outings in intrasquad scrimmages and Fall World Series.

Kyle Skeels, Coastal Carolina- Skeels helped Team Grey to victory in Coastal's annual Fall World Series. His biggest impact came in a must-win Game Two, when the redshirt freshman catcher blasted a three-run homer well over the wall at Springs Brooks Stadium. His homer sealed a 7-0 victory for Team Grey. Skeels also drove in Grey's only run in the first game of the national champions' fall classic, coming up with an RBI single in the fourth inning of a 2-1 defeat. Skeels' squad won the decisive third game, 4-1, to earn Chanticleer bragging rights.

Zach Durfee, Siena- The freshman outfielder came up the first big hit of his Siena career in the Saints' 41st varsity vs. alumni showdown. Trailing 5-4, Durfee clubbed a two-run single with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Siena varsity the walk-off win over the alumni. Durfee was one of four current Saints players to record multiple hits in the victory. The alumni game is a tradition on the Siena campus, and the win extends a three-year unbeaten streak for the varsity.

JD Mundt, Louisville- Mundt, a freshman pitcher for last season's Dutchmen, used his prowess in the pool to aid his team to victory in Louisville's Omaha Challenge- which splits the team into Red and Black for a variety of events. Mundt provided needed points for his Team Black with a victory in the 100-meter swim. A second team All-State selection as a swimmer in high school, Mundt defeated the nearest competition by nearly 14 seconds, including nearly 19 seconds on third place finisher and 2015 Dutchmen infielder Michael Bollmer. The redshirt freshman is undefeated in the swimming event during his two years on campus.

Nate Harris, Louisiana Tech- Harris pitched well in his appearance in Tech's Fall World Series, tossing four solid innings despite his Red Bulls falling in the game and the series to the Blue Dogs. The senior righthander  struck out five hitters with no walks in the first game of the Fall World Series, allowing two runs over his four frames. Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs told LaTechSports.com he was pleased with Harris on the mound, stating he was "proud of him for calming the storm and giving his team a chance."

Jack Owens, Bryant- Owens came up with a clutch performance in Bryant's Black and Gold World Series, pitching out of a bases loaded jam with a one run lead. Owens, a redshirt freshman, entered with a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning. He struck out the first batter, and ended the inning by inducing a double play ball to the shortstop. He would follow his escape act with a hitless fifth inning, as his team would win both of the final two games in the series for a 2-1 victory. Despite needing to rally for the victory, Owens' team dominated the overall scoring, outpacing Team Gold 24-10 over the three games.

Troy Montemayor, Baylor- The former Dutchmen closer served as manager for the Grizzlies in Baylor's Sic’em Omaha Challenge, earning one save despite losing the series, three games to two. With his team trailing two games to none, his Grizzlies battled back to force a decisive game five, led by the manager's scoreless seventh inning in Game Four. During the five game series, Montemayor pitched twice, totalling three innings.

Drew Robertson, Baylor- Robertson outdueled his Dutchmen teammate in the Sic’em Omaha Challenge, earning two saves to power the Kodiaks to the 3-2 series win. Robertson earned saves in the first and last games of the series, shutting down a comeback attempt in the final inning of the decisive game. Both of Robertson's saves in the Challenge came in one run victories for his Kodiaks. Robertson was joined on the victorious Kodiaks by 2014 Dutchmen slugger Cameron Miller.

Carson Klepzig, Ole Miss- A redshirt freshman for the Rebels, Klepzig produced throughout Ole Miss' intrasquad scrimmages, which ended with the annual Pizza Bowl. His best scrimmage came in mid-October, when he went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs. He also helped Team Blackman to a victory in the Pizza Bowl, driving in a run on a sacrifice fly in the second game. Klepzig's team took the series with a victory in the third and final game.

Nick Silber, Rice- Silber made his debut as a member of the Rice baseball team this fall, pitching in a number of intrasquad games for the Owls in October and November. His longest outings were his final two appearances, when he went four innings in both games in the middle of November. In Rice's second to last scrimmage before the team's trip to Cuba, Silber allowed just one run over four innings, striking out a pair of hitters in a 5-1 win for Team Blue. On two occasions, the freshman did not allow an earned run during his time on the mound.

Next week: Dutchmen from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons also made contributions during fall baseball, which will be chronicled on DutchmenBaseball.com next week.

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