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May 25, 2018 10:40 PM

SDSU Advances To Summit League Baseball Championship

TULSA, Okla. - South Dakota State jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead and went on to defeat North Dakota State, 13-7, Friday night at J.L. Johnson Stadium to earn a spot in the Summit League Baseball Championship title game.

With the win, the Jackrabbits improved to 18-31 overall. SDSU will face top-seeded Oral Roberts in the title game at 1 p.m. Saturday. Should the Jackrabbits win that game, a winner-take-all game would follow immediately to determine the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

NDSU's season came to an end with a 26-24 overall record.

The Jackrabbits knocked out NDSU starter Mitch O'Connor after only two-thirds of an inning in batting around in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Anthony Schneider was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a throwing error. After a walk toNick SmithNewt Johnson singled up the middle to plate Schneider with the first run of the game. A sacrifice fly by Gus Steiger for the second out of the frame brought home Smith for a 2-0 lead. Skyler Wenninger later greeted reliever Chris Choles with a two-run single to close the first-inning scoring.

After NDSU scored a run in the bottom of the second, the Jackrabbits hung a five-spot on the board in the top of the third as they again sent nine men to the plate. Wenninger recorded his third RBI of the game with a groundout, which was followed by a squeeze bunt by Kolton Michalski that brought home Steiger. Schneider notched a run-scoring single as the lineup turned over for the third time in as many innings, and Smith capped the rally with a two-run double to the left-center gap.

The Bison trimmed the deficit to 9-4 in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run home run down the left-field line by Matt Elsenpeter, but SDSU countered in the top of the fifth as Schneider launched a two-run homer to right to push the lead back to seven at 11-4. It was Schneider's team-leading eighth home run of the season and second of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Jackrabbit starter Bryce Johnson settled into a groove, closing his seven-inning outing with three scoreless frames. The junior left-hander scattered nine hits, struck out three and walked only one en route to his first victory in an SDSU uniform.

Tony Kjolsing capped the scoring for SDSU with a two-run blast to left field in the eighth. For Kjolsing, it was his seventh round-tripper of the season and his second in three tournament games.

The final Bison tallies came on a solo home run by Tucker Rohde in the eighth and two-run homer by Mason Pierzchalski with two outs in the ninth. Rohde was 4-for-4 to lead NDSU's 12-hit effort.

Steiger paced the Jackrabbits' 13-hit attack with a 3-for-4 night at the plate. Schneider, Kjolsing, Josh Falk and Wenninger each finished with a pair of hits.

NOTES
  • The two teams split the season series, 3-3
  • SDSU leads the all-time series, 117-69, including a 6-2 advantage in Summit League postseason games
  • The Jackrabbits will make their fifth appearance in the Summit League Baseball Championship title game(s) and first since winning the tournament title in 2013
  • SDSU improved to 16-16 in nine overall Summit League postseason appearances
  • Steiger recorded his eighth three-hit game and team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season, extending his hitting streak to nine games
  • Wenninger has tallied 10 of his 14 RBIs for the season during his current seven-game hitting streak
  • Newt Johnson became the third Jackrabbit player to reach double figures in stolen bases this season, stealing his 10th base in the fifth inning
  • Of Kjolsing's 15 career home runs, 10 have been hit in the month of May
  • Schneider matched an individual season high for the Jackrabbits with four runs scored
  • Smith has drawn six walks in three tournament games
-GoJacks.com-


Courtesy: SDSU
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