South Dakota State limited Fort Wayne to a total of two runs, sweeping a Summit League baseball doubleheader by scores of 3-2 and 3-0 Saturday afternoon at Mastodon Field.
Chad Hodges pitched a three-hit seven-inning shutout in the second game, after Chris Anderson allowed two runs – one earned – in six-plus innings in the opener, a game the Jackrabbits eventually won in nine innings.
SDSU, which ran its winning streak to four games, improved to 20-17 overall and 5-4 in The Summit League. Fort Wayne dropped to 14-23 overall, 6-5 in league play.
In the opener, the Jackrabbits scored two first-inning runs without the benefit of a hit. Scott Splett and Zach Coppola opened the game by reaching on consecutive errors by Fort Wayne. The third Mastodon error of the inning allowed by Splett and Coppola to score.
Fort Wayne broke into the scoring column in the fifth inning on a double by Kendall Whitman that scored Steve Lowden, who led off the inning with a single.
The Mastodons sent the game into extra innings with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh. Greg Kaiser reached on a two-base throwing error to lead off the inning. Jackrabbit closer J.D. Moore then came on in relief of Anderson. Moore retired Lowden on a sacrifice bunt for the first out, but Malcolm White came through with a single to right field to score Lowden.
The Jackrabbits put together the game-winning rally in the top of the ninth. With two outs, Coppola singled and stole second. After an intentional walk to Aaron Machbitz, Jordan Varga singled up the middle to score Coppola.
Moore finished off the Jackrabbit victory with the help of a double play in the bottom of the ninth to earn his fourth victory of the season. He struck out two and walked two in three innings. Anderson struck out two batters and walked one in six-plus strong innings.
SDSU managed only four hits in the game, two of which were by Coppola. Whitman and Lowden each recorded two of Fort Wayne’s seven hits.
The Jackrabbits broke through in the second game of the twinbill with a run in the third inning. Splett reached on a bunt single with one out, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error, then scored on Machbitz’s single to center field.
SDSU added a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Paul Jacobson led off the inning with a walk and later scored on the back end of a double steal with Al Robbins. Robbins came around to score on a two-out double to left field by Cody Sharrow.
Fort Wayne threatened in the third inning on back-to-back two-out singles by Whitman and Carter DeBoe. However, Hodges induced a fly ball for the final out of the inning, then held the Mastodons to one hit the rest of the way.
A junior from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Hodges struck out six and walked two in improving to 5-3 on the season.
Splett led the Jackrabbit offense with two of the team’s six hits.
The Jackrabbits, who have allowed a total of three runs through the first three games of the series, will go for a four-game sweep Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for noon Eastern Time (11 a.m. Central).
Courtesy: Jason Hove, Assistant AD-Sports Information, South Dakota State University