Freshman Ryan Froom pitched seven strong innings and the South Dakota State offense scored multiple runs in four different innings as the Jackrabbit baseball team closed the home portion of its schedule with a 9-1 victory over Western Illinois Sunday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
With the victory, the Jackrabbits returned to the .500 mark at 25-25 overall and 9-9 in Summit League play. Western Illinois dropped to 19-26 overall and 11-9 in The Summit League, falling into a tie with Omaha for the league lead.
The Fighting Leathernecks scored first on back-to-back two-out doubles by Neil DeCook and Tanner Glore. However, the Jackrabbits responded with a two-run first inning and never looked back in securing a split of the four-game series.
Aaron Machbitz singled in Zach Coppola with the first run of the Jackrabbit first inning, then scored on the back end of a double steal with Paul Jacobson.
SDSU added a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Tyler Shannon led off with a single and scored on a triple to the right field corner by Scott Splett. Splett later scored on a ground ball off Coppola’s bat.
Meanwhile, Froom settled into a groove in only his second career start. The right-hander worked around five hits and three walks as he shut out the Fighting Leathernecks over his final six innings. The Jackrabbits played error-less defense behind him and two WIU baserunners were caught stealing, including one at home.
The Jackrabbits put the game away with two runs in the sixth inning against the WIU bullpen as Reid Clary doubled in the first run and later scored on an error. SDSU tacked on three more runs in the seventh, highlighted by Machbitz’s second run-scoring hit of the day.
Coppola, Machbitz, Jacobson and Shannon each tallied two of the Jackrabbits’ 12 hits. Eric Maki and Glore led the Fighting Leathernecks with two hits apiece.
Aaron Michel, who pitched a one-hit shutout against the Jackrabbits earlier this season, took the loss for Western. The left-hander gave up the first four runs, allowing five hits while walking three and striking out eight.
Marcus Heemstra pitched two scoreless innings to finish the game out of the Jackrabbit bullpen.
SDSU will make a pair of trips to North Dakota this week to finish the regular season. The Jackrabbits are slated to play at North Dakota at 5 p.m. Monday in Grand Forks, then wrap up Summit League action with a four-game series May 15-17 at North Dakota State.
Courtesy: Jason Hove, Assistant AD-Sports Information, South Dakota State University