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Jacks baseball take three of four from Western Illinois

South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University

MACOMB, Ill. (KWSN)– The South Dakota State baseball team opened Sunday by finishing off a 5-0 victory in a suspended game and closed the day with a 3-2 victory over Western Illinois in the series opener at Alfred Boyer Stadium.

In between, the Jackrabbits dropped a 2-1 decision in the first full game of a doubleheader to move to 25-15 overall and 10-6 in The Summit League. Western Illinois ended the day 14-29, 5-11 in league play.

After rain suspended play Saturday, play resumed at 11 a.m. Sunday with the Jackrabbits leading 5-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. SDSU reliever Talon Jumper held Western Illinois to only one hit over the final three innings to keep the shutout intact. Stephen Bougher, who tied the SDSU career starts record with 44, struck out four and allowed only two hits over six innings as he improved to 6-1 on the season.

Eric Danforth and Scott Splett each tallied two hits for the Jackrabbits.

Sunday’s scheduled doubleheader consisted of a pair of seven-inning games.

All of the scoring in Game 1 of the twinbill happened in the first two innings, with the Jackrabbits scoring their lone run of the game in the top of the first inning. Al Robbins opened the game with a single, to second on a wild pitch, took third on Scott Splett’s base hit and scored on an error.

Western Illinois tied the game on an RBI single by Steve Kedroski in the bottom of the first and tallied what would be the game-winning run in the second when Mark Garton singled in Neil DeCook.

The Jackrabbits placed the tying run at third base with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Fighting Leatherneck closer Brian Loconsole struck out pinch-hitter Eric Danforth to end the game.

Western Illinois starter Tom Constand struck out six and allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win. Loconsole struck out two in earning the save by recording the final four outs.

SDSU’s Adam Bray took the loss in a complete-game effort. The sophomore right-hander struck out three, did not walk a batter and surrendered five hits.

Splett notched two of the Jackrabbits’ four hits.

In the finale, the Jackrabbits rallied for three late runs, including the game-winner in the top of the seventh to pull out a 3-2 victory.

Trailing 2-0, SDSU got on the board in the top the fourth inning when Danforth and Splett walked to open the frame before Jordan Varga plated Danforth with an infield single. Danforth delivered the tying run an inning later with a sacrifice fly that scored Daniel Marra.

The Jackrabbits gained the lead in the top of the seventh when Andrew Melton led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Steven Autenrieth. After Danforth put runners at the corners with an infield single, Melton scored on a Fighting Leatherneck error.

J.D. Moore worked around a leadoff double, stranding the tying run at third base to earn his school-record-tying 10th save.

Western Illinois struck for two runs on three hits in the third inning against Jackrabbit starter Kolton Emery. Dan Dispensa drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, followed by an RBI single by Jameson Henning.

Chad Hodges recorded the final two outs of the sixth inning to earn his third victory of the season.

In winning three of four games in the series, the Jackrabbit pitching staff gave up a total of five runs in 30 innings.

The Jackrabbits are scheduled to play Tuesday afternoon at the University of North Dakota.

Courtesy: South Dakota State University