Winners Take All; Jacks To NCAAs
ROCHESTER, MI — The mantra for the South Dakota State University baseball team all season has been “grind.”
On Sunday, the top-seeded Jackrabbits proved their mettle with a pair of shutout victories – 2-0 and 1-0 — over North Dakota State to claim their first Summit League tournament title and their inaugural berth in the NCAA Tournament. After losing their tournament opener Thursday to Western Illinois, the Jackrabbits reeled off four consecutive victories.
SDSU improved to 35-22 overall. North Dakota State ended its season at 26-27.
In the opener, Kolton Emery and J.D. Moore combined on a seven-hit shutout.
SDSU took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Daniel Telford reached on an infield single and later scored on Aaron Machbitz’s single up the middle.
The game remained 1-0 until SDSU added an insurance run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly by Scott Splett that plated Andrew Melton.
A junior right-hander from Black Hawk, Emery pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and no walks. He struck out five.
Moore fanned the first three batters he faced and retired all four hitters he faced to earn his 13th save of the season.
Machbitz was 2-for-3 to pace SDSU’s eight-hit effort.
North Dakota State starter Jay Flaa struck out four and gave up six hits in 7 1/3 innings.
In Game 2, three SDSU pitchers combined for the shutout and the Jackrabbits scored the lone run of the game in the top of the first inning.
Scott Splett started what proved to be the game-winning run with a two-out single to right field. A wild pitch and passed ball moved Splett to third before Telford, the tournament most valuable player, lined a double to left-center field.
Jackrabbit starter Shane Kraemer did not allow a hit through the first 3 1/3 innings, but later worked out of a jam in the fifth inning by stranding runners at the corners. Kraemer exited with two runners on and one out in the sixth, giving way to Friday starter Stephen Bougher. Bougher induced a double-play grounder to get out of the sixth and worked around a leadoff double in the seventh.
Layne Somsen, who started the Thursday opener, entered in the eighth inning and pitched around a leadoff single by striking out the final two batters of the frame. Somsen then closed out the tournament with a perfect ninth inning, again striking out the final two Bison batters of the frame to earn his first career save.
Kraemer, who struck out two, improved to 4-2 on the season. The Jackrabbit pitching staff did not allow a base on balls in either game.
Telford recorded two of SDSU’s six hits. Wes Satzinger and Blake Turbak each tallied two on NDSU’s seven hits.
Joining Telford on the all-tournament team from SDSU were Moore, Bougher, Splett and Emery.
Pairings for the NCAA Tournament will be announced at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPNU. Jackrabbit coaches and players will gather for a public reception at Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill in Brookings.
Courtesy: South Dakota State University