BROOKINGS, S.D. — Pitching, defense and timely hitting.
Behind a tie-breaking two-run home run by Aaron Machbitz in the bottom of the sixth inning, the South Dakota State University baseball team officially christened the newly renovated Erv Huether Field with a 3-1 victory over Minnesota Wednesday afternoon.
In defeating Minnesota for the fifth time in the last six meetings, the Jackrabbits improved to 10-17-1 overall. The Golden Gophers dropped to 17-17 on the season.
After being held hitless for the first 3 1/3 innings by Minnesota starter Jordan Jess, the Jackrabbits grabbed a 1-0 lead later in the fourth inning against the Golden Gopher bullpen. With two outs, Phil Paquette and Andrew Phelan each reached on infield singles before Zach Rhodes singled to right field to plate Paquette.
Minnesota tied the game with a run in the fifth inning against SDSU reliever Nick Young. David Bettenburg led off with a walk, moved to third on a base hit by Ryan Abrahamson and scored on a groundout by Andy Henkemeyer.
SDSU’s game winning rally started when Eric Cain greeted reliever Kyle O’Shea with a base hit through the right side and Machbitz followed with his second home run of the season, a shot a few feet to the left of straight-away center field.
The Jackrabbit bullpen held the lead the rest of the way as Marcus Heemstra pitched two scoreless innings and Deon Entringer finished off his first save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
Along the way, the Jackrabbits flashed the leather as Andrew Phelan — normally the team’s starting center fielder — started a nifty double play up the middle with a backhand flip from his second base position for the first two outs of the eighth and Zach Rhodes made a diving catch in right-center field for the third out of the frame. Left fielder Eric Danforth added a diving catch to rob the Golden Gophers of a hit to open the ninth inning.
In addition, Jackrabbit catcher Zach Briggs threw out two would-be base stealers and picked off another runner at second base.
Machbitz and Phelan each tallied two of the Jackrabbits’ eight hits. Bobby Juan and Abrahamson each had two of Minnesota’s five hits.
Freshman left-hander Blake Fiedelman earned his first collegiate victory, recording one walk and one strikeout in one-plus innings of work.
SDSU continues non-conference play this weekend, traveling to Omaha, Neb., for three games. The Jackrabbits are scheduled to play Creighton (Neb.) at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by a 10 a.m. contest Saturday versus Iowa. The weekend concludes with another matchup against Creighton at 1 p.m. Sunday. All three games will be played at TD Ameritrade Park — the home of the College World Series.
NOTES: Minnesota leads the all-time series 27-10 … the two teams split their season series with each team winning on its home field … Jackrabbit starter Layne Somsen struck out the side in his only inning of work … Entringer recorded his second career save … SDSU has allowed only 11 runs in its last six games. … Shane Kraemer made his team-leading 12th appearance of the season … Machbitz’s home run was the only extra-base hit of the game … stadium renovation benefactor Dave Lane and his wife, Shari, were honored before the game … attendance was 258.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 3, MINNESOTA 1
MINN 000 010 000 1-5-1
SDSU 000 102 00X 3-8-1
MINN: Jordan Jess, Dustin Klabunde (4), Kyle O’Shea (6), Billy Soule (6), Drew Ghelfi (8) and Matt Halloran. SDSU: Layne Somsen, Shane Kraemer (2), Nick Young (4), Blake Fiedelman (6), Marcus Heemstra (7), Deon Entringer (9) and Zach Briggs.
W-Fiedelman (1-2). L-O’Shea (0-1). Save-Entringer (1).
HR: SDSU-Aaron Machbitz (2).