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Jackrabbits Drop Finale In Slugfest

Daniel Marra, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Mike Janes Photography For South Dakota State University

GREELEY, CO — Bryan Tibbitts’ pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth inning plated the winning run, giving Northern Colorado a 13-12 victory over South Dakota State in the finale of a three-game non-conference baseball series Sunday afternoon at Jackson Field.

With the win in the back-and-forth contest, the Bears improved to 8-13 overall. South Dakota State, which won the first two games of the series, dropped to 12-9 on the season.

The Jackrabbits lost despite scoring in seven of the nine innings. Trailing 12-10, SDSU knotted the game in the top of the ninth inning with a two-out rally. Scott Splett was hit by a pitch to put runners and first and second, and Aaron Machbitz loaded the bases with an infield single. Daniel Telford and Daniel Marra then worked back-to-back walks against two different UNC relievers to force in two runs.

UNC’s game-winning rally started with a base hit by Ryan Yamane, who later moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jensen Park. After Nick Miller was intentionally walked, Tibbitts singled down the right-field line to score Yamane. It was the first run allowed this season by Jackrabbit closer J.D. Moore in 10 appearances.

SDSU got out of the gates quickly, scoring twice in the top of the first inning. Splett drove in the first run of the game with an opposite-field double and later scored on an error.

The Bears came right back with three runs in the home half of the first on the strength of five hits, including run-scoring singles by Yamane, Derek Baum and Brooks Schneider.

The Jackrabbits regained a 5-4 lead with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth, but UNC countered with two runs of its own in the home half of the frame on an RBI double by Yamane that chased SDSU starter Adam Bray, followed by a single by Miller against reliever Aaron Klatt.

Al Robbins’ hit a two-run single for the Jackrabbits in the fifth inning and SDSU built a 9-6 lead in the top of the sixth as Telford cracked a run-scoring triple and later scored on a groundout.

However, UNC scored the next six runs, plating two in its half of the sixth and four more in the seventh. Two runs in the seventh scored on an error, while the final run crossed on a triple by Ben Packard.

Each team finished the afternoon with 17 hits. Robbins and Marra each tallied three hits for SDSU, while Yamane and Dylan Banach recorded three hits apiece for UNC.

The Jackrabbits are tentatively scheduled to open the home season Wednesday with a 3 p.m. matchup against Minnesota.

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Courtesy:  South Dakota State University

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