For the second day in a row, North Dakota State rallied in the late innings, downing South Dakota State, 6-5, on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth Saturday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field.
In sweeping the three-game series, NDSU improved to 25-22 overall and 15-13 in Summit League play, earning the third seed in next week's Summit League Baseball Championship. The Jackrabbits, who fell to the No. 4 seed, ended the regular season 16-30 overall and 14-13 in league play.
Trailing 5-1, the Bison tied the game with a four-run bottom of the seventh inning. Carter Thompson drew a leadoff walk against Jackrabbit starter Andrew Zimmerman
and advanced to third on a single to right field by Tucker Rohde. SDSU reliever Bret Barnett
walked the only man he faced, Kyle Emanuel, to load the bases.
SDSU closer Alex Marro
then entered the game and recorded outs against the first two batters he faced, although Thompson scored on a groundout off the bat of Matt Elsenpeter. Drew Fearing then made it a 5-3 game with a run-scoring single up the middle and moved into scoring position on an outfield error. Jayse McLean tied the contest with a two-run single through the right side.
Zimmerman had held NDSU in check through the first six innings, retiring eight batters in a row heading into the seventh. Zimmerman, who was making only his second start of the season, struck out three, walked three and allowed only three hits in six-plus innings.
NDSU's game-winning rally in the ninth began when leadoff hitter Nick Emanuel reached on the Jackrabbits' third error of the game. Pinch-runner Alec Abercrombie moved to second on a bunt single by Elsenpeter and took third on a groundout. After an intentional walk to Fearing loaded the bases, McLean drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Derek Feige
to give the Bison their only lead of the game.
The Jackrabbits scored two batters into the game as Tony Kjolsing
connected on his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to right field. SDSU added a run in the third on a two-out run-scoring single by Landon Badger
that plated Gus Steiger
The Bison countered with a run in the home half of the third as Fearing lofted a sacrifice fly to center field after the first two men in the frame reached on walks.
SDSU upped its lead to 5-1 with an RBI single by Newt Johnson
in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth.Skyler Wenninger
singled in the first run of the sixth, with Kjolsing adding a run-scoring groundout later in the frame.
The Jackrabbits finished with a 10-6 advantage in hits, including two each from Steiger, Johnson and Badger. Fearing was the lone NDSU player with more than one hit, while McLean drove in three runs.
Zach Smith, who struck out four in 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, picked up the victory. UP NEXT
The Jackrabbits are scheduled to play top-seeded Oral Roberts in the opening round of the Summit League Baseball Championship. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma. NOTES
- NDSU won the season series, 3-2
- The Jackrabbits have a 162-128 record (.559 winning percentage) in Summit League regular season games in 11 seasons as a league member
- Anthony Schneider had his streak of reaching base safely by hit or walk end at 24 games
- Steiger recorded his team-leading 17th multi-hit game of the season
- Eight of Kjolsing's 13 career home runs have been hit in the month of May
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