inning with a home run to lift South Dakota State to a 5-4, series-opening win over Omaha in Summit League baseball action Friday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
The Jackrabbits, who were playing their first true home game of the season, improved to 13-24 overall and maintained their hold on second place in the league standings with an 11-8 mark. Omaha dropped to 14-26 overall and 9-10 in The Summit League.
A senior shortstop from Chaska, Minnesota, Kjolsing's game-winning blast just to the right of straightaway center field came on a 3-2 pitch from Maverick reliever Cal Hehnke. Kjolsing's third home run of the season followed three scoreless innings by Henke.
Omaha forced extra innings after rallying from a 4-1 deficit against the Jackrabbit bullpen. The Mavericks pulled to within 4-3 in the sixth when Braden Rogers doubled in Thomas DeBonville and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Keil Krumwiede.
Omaha tied the game in the seventh on a run-scoring single by Cole Thibodeau. A baserunning error by the Mavericks prevented them from taking the lead in the eighth and Alex Marro worked around an error in the ninth to keep the game knotted at 4, thanks to a diving stop and throw across the diamond by Newt Johnson with a runner at third for the final out of the inning.
All four of the Jackrabbits' runs in regulation were scored in the bottom of the second inning, starting with a leadoff home run to center by Josh Falk. SDSU added three more runs later in the frame by taking advantage of some defensive lapses by the Mavericks. A fly ball lost in the sun led to a triple by Gus Steiger, who later scored on a squeeze bunt by Kolton Michalski that turned into a single when the Mavericks were late in covering first base. The final two runs of the inning came across on an RBI groundout by Anthony Schneider and two-out single to left by Kjolsing.
Kjolsing, Steiger and Falk each collected two of the Jackrabbits' nine hits. Rogers and Adam Caniglia each posted two of Omaha's eight hits.
Jackrabbit starter Korey Kuhlmann limited Omaha to one run on four hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked one. Marro fanned two batters in three scoreless innings to pick up the win.
For Omaha, Joey Machado settled in after some early control issues to complete six innings. He surrendered seven hits, walked five and struck out two. Hehnke had retired eight SDSU batters in a row before allowing Kjolsing's walkoff homer. UP NEXT
The middle game of the three-game series is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Erv Huether Field. NOTES
- Omaha leads the all-time series, 82-76-1
- The season series is tied at two games apiece
- Kjolsing recorded his fourth multi-hit game in his last five contests and is batting .550 (11-for-20) over that span
- Kjolsing last homered on March 11 at Northern Colorado
- Steiger and Falk each posted their team-leading 12thmulti-hit games of the season
- Falk moved into a tie with Newt Johnson for the team lead in home runs with five
- Kuhlmann started in place of fellow left-hander Brady Stover due to injury
- Marro extended his streak of scoreless innings to 9 1/3 innings over his last six appearances
- SDSU improved to 2-2 in extra-inning games this season
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