LINCOLN, NE – Four second-inning runs and 5 2/3 shutout innings from freshman pitcher Will Kent propelled the South Dakota State baseball team to its 11th win in a row, an 8-3 victory over Nebraska Wednesday night at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.
The Jackrabbits climbed over the .500 mark for the first time this season, improving to 18-17 while establishing a new Division I-era school record for consecutive wins. Nebraska dropped to 22-15-1 overall.
Dawson Parry started the second-inning rally for the Jackrabbits with an infield single and moved to second on a walk to Cade Stuff before Drew Beazley tripled to the right-center gap off Husker starter Jackson Brockett to plate both runners. Beazley later scored on a groundout off the bat of Jess Bellows and Ryan McDonald capped the frame with his team-leading 17th home run of the season, a solo shot to left.
The Jackrabbit defense turned double plays behind Kent in each of the first two innings and the right-hander from Rosemount, Minnesota, left a pair of Nebraska runners stranded in scoring position in the fifth inning before exiting with two outs in the sixth. Fellow freshman Jack Kruger recorded a strikeout with the bases loaded for the final out of the sixth to keep the shutout bid intact.
SDSU had upped its lead to 6-0 in the top of the sixth on a two-run double by Bellows that scored both Beazley and Stuff. A Luke Ira RBI single in the seventh pushed the Jackrabbit lead to 7-0.
Nebraska trimmed the deficit to 7-3 with a three-run bottom of the seventh on RBI singles by Casey Burnham, Charlie Fischer and Gabe Swansen. Eli Sundquist induced a flyout for the third out of the inning and kept Nebraska off the board over the final two frames to earn his first save of the season.
Sundquist struck out four and walked three, but did not allow a hit in his 2 1/3 innings of work. Kent scattered four hits, walked one, struck out one and hit two batters in posting his second win of the season.
Bellows tied a single-game career high with his fourth RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth.
Beazley and Parry each went 3-for-5 as the Jackrabbits finished with a 13-7 advantage in hits. Fischer and Dylan Carey each tallied two hits for Nebraska.
The Jackrabbits move on to Tulsa, Oklahoma, as they return to conference play with a three-game weekend series at Summit League-leading Oral Roberts. Friday’s series opener is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch.
- Nebraska leads the all-time series, 18-3, which dates back to 1959
- SDSU ended a 13-game losing against the Cornhuskers and picked up its first win in the series since 1971
- Jackrabbit teams in 2007 and 2011 previously put together 10-game winning streaks in the D-I era (since 2005)
- McDonald moved into a tie with Terry Van Engelenhoven (17 home runs in 1993) for third place on the SDSU single-season home run chart
- Bellows also drove in four runs in the second game of a March 24 doubleheader at Northern Colorado
- Sundquist has recorded 33 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched this season
- Nebraska left 12 runners on base while the Jackrabbits stranded 10
- Attendance was 4,770