Bucks v. Pocatello Runnin' Rebels (copy)

Bucks pitcher Michael Freund works during a June 28 game at Heroes Park.

Michael Freund came through for Bozeman all season long. He earned a reputation as an excellent player in crunch time. And when he was called upon Friday, he rose to the challenge.

With runners on second and third and no outs in the fifth inning, Freund performed again. His double to center field scored two runs, and he scored two batters later.

“That was a big deal for him to see it well and hit it hard,” Bucks manager Garrett Schultz said. “He’s such a good player, and that was big time.”

The three-run fifth keyed Bozeman’s 4-1 win over Medford (Oregon) at the Northwest Regional in Lewiston, Idaho. Freund helped himself on the mound as he also pitched a complete game.

The Bucks are now the last unbeaten team in the tournament. They’ll take on Idaho Falls at 1 p.m. Saturday, have already clinched a championship berth and have won nine straight games, a streak dating to July 22.

Freund commanded the game and allowed Medford’s only run in the seventh. He gave up six hits while striking out seven and walking two. He delivered fastballs low in the strike zone, which limited the Mustangs’ offense, and changed speeds to keep batters off balance. Even when he fell behind in counts, Freund managed to locate pitches effectively.

Schultz also credited right fielder Sage McMinn, shortstop Parker McMan and third baseman Preston Fliehman for crucial defensive plays. Freund was also Bozeman’s third straight starter in three games at the regional to last at least six innings.

“We’re getting everything we need out of our pitching staff right now,” Schultz said. “We got another gem out of Michael Freund. He was really competitive. Just absolutely battled. Medford’s a really good hitting team, and they put pressure on him. Not only did he continue to grind, our defense made some really good plays.”

As Freund cruised on the mound, the Bucks’ offense came through. After three scoreless innings, Preston Fliehman singled to score Carsten Simcox in the fourth.

An inning later, Bozeman scored three more and led by four.

Though it took a few innings to crack through, Schultz complimented his team for the well-rounded performance.

“Even though we didn’t have the success early, we didn’t press too much,” Schultz said. “Had to breathe through our at-bats and had to trust our swing. We said it before, we got a tough lineup and the more trips through the order we go, the more comfortable we get. That’s what happened tonight.”

After Hunter Williams dominated Wednesday and Sage McMinn dazzled Thursday, Freund took his turn carrying the Bucks.

And as the only team that hasn’t lost yet in the regional, they’re now in control of the tournament.

“Our goal is really to win this whole thing. It’s going to take a big effort to get it done,” Schultz said. “… Our team has really earned where we’re at. We’re not done yet.”

Paul Schwedelson can be reached at pschwedelson@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @pschweds.

Paul Schwedelson is a sports writer for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.