SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Patrick Rients had three hits, including a double and a triple, while Jon Ellis and Tanner Neale each clubbed home runs to lead Southwest Minnesota State to a 6-4 victory over Sioux Falls in game one of a twin bill at Harmadon Park. USF rebounded in game two, jumping to a 4-0 lead in the second inning and then held off a late SMSU charge to earn an 8-7 victory.
SMSU scored five runs in the ninth inning in the night cap and had the bases loaded, but a ground out ended the comeback attempt. The loss in game two snapped a five-game SMSU winning streak.
In game one, Jimmy Callahan (5-0) picked up the victory for the Mustangs throwing six-plus innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Rients, named the NSIC Player of the Week on Monday, started the scoring for SMSU (17-14, 8-7 NSIC) with a one-out double in the second and came around to score on a big two-out single by Sam Haas.
The game remained 1-0 until SMSU broke free with a big fifth inning off of USF ace pitcher Derek Fischer. Neale started the rally with a solo homer to left field, his second round-tripper of the season. Ryan Engels and Ben Korger followed with singles, before Ellis, Austin Stubbs and Rients all hit one-out RBI singles to score three more runs and push the lead to 5-0.
USF (15-20, 9-13 NSIC) scored two runs in the fifth to make the score 5-2, before Ellis got one back for SMSU in the seventh inning with his third homer of the season to give the Mustangs a 6-2 lead.
The Cougars made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs and putting the tying run on base, but Brandan Alfson recorded the final two outs to notch his fourth save of the season.
SMSU ended game one with 11 hits, with Ellis also recording a multi-hit game with two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs.
In game two, USF jumped on SMSU starter Travis McGlauflin (0-2) in the second inning putting together four hits and a walk to push across four runs.
SMSU quickly answered in the third as Kontz delivered with a two-run double to score Haas and Neale and make the score 4-2, but USF would score single runs in the third through sixth innings to extend the lead to 8-2.
The Mustangs wouldn’t quit and nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback attempt in the ninth starting the frame with three straight walks. Following a strikeout, Kontz came through with a two-run single, before Ellis drilled a double to make the score 8-5. Austin Stubbs and Rients then connected for back-to-back RBI singles to trim the deficit to 8-7 and put the tying run on second base. Following a pitching change, Alfson hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out before Jason Minnet was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The rally came up just short as Jarred Carlson, who walked earlier in the inning, grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
SMSU, which was held to four hits through eight innings, finished the game with eight hits. Stubbs led the way going 3 for 4, while Kontz finished 2 for 5 with four RBIs.
McGlauflin lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits, with three walks and four strikeouts. Danny Thering pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief and was charged with two runs (one earned), while allowing two hits. Brandyn Olson and Hayden Willner each tossed one scoreless inning.
Southwest Minnesota State returns to Marshall this Friday and Saturday to open a four-game series at Alumni Field versus Augustana College (27-10, 17-4 NSIC). The Vikings will be playing their first games outside of the city of Sioux Falls since March 12. Friday’s doubleheader begins at 1:30 p.m. with Saturday’s doubleheader starting at 12 p.m.
Courtesy: SMSU Kelly Loft