South Dakota State pitchers Andrew Clemen and J.D. Moore combined on a four-hit shutout in the opener, but Western Illinois got the bats going in the second game as the two squads split a Summit League baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
The Jackrabbits, who won the opener, 5-0, ended the day 24-25 overall and 8-9 in league play. League-leading Western Illinois, which pounded out 21 hits in a 16-4 victory in Game 2, moved to 19-25 overall, 11-8 in The Summit League.
Clemen, who was making his first career start after 25 relief appearances in two seasons, pitched five shutout innings. The sophomore right-hander allowed three hits, struck out three and walked one. He was helped by his defense as Scott Splett threw a runner out trying to advance to third in the third inning after a leadoff double, then stranded two runners in the top of the fourth.
The Jackrabbits broke a scoreless deadlock with two runs in the home half of the fourth. Aaron Machbitz opened the inning with a single and moved to third base on a double by Matt Johnson. Machbitz later scored on a wild pitch and Johnson crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by Paul Jacobson.
Splett dropped down a bunt single in the fifth and moved all the way to third on an errant throw. Zach Coppola then dropped down a squeeze bunt that scored Splett to make the score 3-0.
SDSU tacked on two runs in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Zach Holt, who later scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Sharrow.
J.D. Moore pitched the final two innings for his seventh save of the season. Moore, who upped his SDSU-record career saves total to 25, struck out four and walked two.
Holt was the lone player in the game with more than one hit, going 2-for-3.
Game 2 was all Western Illinois as eight different Fighting Leathernecks recorded at least two hits in an eight-inning rout.
WIU drew first blood on a run-scoring single by Payton Jeffers in the second inning, then tacked on three more runs in the third. J.J. Reimer hit a two-run home run to left center to start the third-inning rally, with Travis Stafford adding a run-scoring single later in the frame.
The Jackrabbits pulled to within a run with a three-run home half of the third. The first run of the inning scored on an error as Tyler Shannon scored all the way from first on an errant throw after a bunt single by Coppola. Coppola later scored on a wild pitch and Eric Danforth plated Johnson with the final run with a single.
Western put the game out of reach with a six-run fifth inning, knocking out Jackrabbit starter Chad Hodges. Chris Tschida, who was one of four Fighting Leatherneck players with three hits, greeted reliever Talon Jumper with a two-run triple. Staffor, Zach Burling and Jameson Henning added run-scoring singles later in the inning. Henning drove in three runs in the game.
The hits kept on coming for the Fighting Leathernecks, who scored three times in both the seventh and eighth innings to end the game early.
WIU starter John White worked the first six innings, striking out five and walking two despite giving up four runs on nine hits.
Hodges, the reigning Summit League Pitcher of the Week, surrendered six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Coppola, Johnson and Sam Pack each tallied two hits for the Jackrabbits. Both of Johnson’s hits were doubles, giving him three in the doubleheader.
Sunday’s series finale has been moved up an hour to a noon start. The Jackrabbit senior class will be honored during pre-game ceremonies.
Courtesy: Jason Hove, Assistant AD-Sports Information, South Dakota State University