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Jacks Sweep Twinbill From Mastodons

Stephen Bougher, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
South Dakota State University

BROOKINGS, SD — The South Dakota State University baseball team kept pace in the Summit League regular season race Saturday afternoon, sweeping a doubleheader from Fort Wayne at Erv Huether Field.

On a record-setting day for Jackrabbit pitcher Stephen Bougher, SDSU used some late-inning heroics to win the opener, 5-2. The Jackrabbits finished off the sweep with an 8-3 victory in the nightcap to improve to 28-17 overall and 13-6 in league play. League-leading Omaha defeated Oakland, 7-2, on Saturday to remain a game ahead of the Jackrabbits in the loss column at 15-5.

In the opener, Fort Wayne broke a scoreless deadlock in the top of the sixth on a two-run home run over the right-field wall by Steve Lowden.

The Jackrabbits responded with one of their biggest innings of the season. Paul Jacobson drew a leadoff walk and scored two batters later when Aaron Machbitz doubled to right center. Andrew Melton plated the tying run with a two-out double to the right-center gap.

The ball continued to bounce the Jackrabbits’ way as Al Robbins reached on an error and Eric Danforth reached on a wild pitch after a swinging third strike to load the bases. Scott Splett then stepped to the plate and lined a bases-clearing, three-run double to give SDSU a 5-2 lead.

Bougher made the lead stand as he finished off his fourth complete game of the season. The senior right-hander, who set SDSU career standards for starts (45) and innings pitched (276.1), struck out seven, walked two and gave up seven hits in improving to 7-1 on the season.

SDSU held an 8-7 advantage in hits, led by Splett’s two hits. Lowden paced Fort Wayne’s seven-hit effort with two hits.

Mastodon starter Chuck Weaver took the loss despite striking out 10 in a six-inning, complete-game effort. He walked three.

In Game 2, the Jackrabbits overcame an early deficit and took advantage of four Fort Wayne errors en route to the 8-3 victory.

SDSU starter Kolton Emery walked three batters in the first inning before giving up a two-run single to Kendall Whitman. The Mastodons added a run in the third inning on a Lowden RBI single to go ahead 3-0.

From there it was all Jackrabbits, who scored in each of their last five innings of batting. SDSU scored a pair of runs on run-scoring singles by Nick Andrews and Daniel Marra in the bottom of the fourth and tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Splett in the fifth.

Machbitz’s sacrifice fly against Mastodon reliever Travis Reboulet in the sixth gave SDSU its first lead of the game.

The final four runs of the game for the Jackrabbits were all unearned. A pair of errors in the seventh inning led to two runs and a dropped fly ball with two outs in the eighth allowed two more runs to score.

Emery settled down after his early struggles to complete seven innings and earn his third victory of the season. The junior right-hander scattered five hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter after issuing the three free passes in the first inning.

Talon Jumper pitched the final two innings for SDSU and was credited with his second save of the season.

Fort Wayne starter Brandon Pease struck out three in five innings, but did not factor into the decision.

Al Robbins, Splett and Andrews each posted two of the Jackrabbits’ 10 hits. Lowden and Kevin Wirth each had two of Fort Wayne’s seven hits.

The series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start Sunday at Erv Huether Field. Jackrabbit seniors will be honored in pre-game ceremonies.

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Courtesy:  South Dakota State University

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