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Jacks Split in Omaha



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OMAHA, Neb. – Ryan Keele ended South Dakota State’s hopes for a share of the Summit League regular season baseball title with a walk-off home run in the opener, but the Jackrabbits came back to rout Omaha in the nightcap as the two squads split a doubleheader Friday afternoon at the Ballpark at Boys Town.

 

Omaha, which won the opener, 6-4, moved to 26-22 overall and 19-6 in league play. The Jackrabbits, who took Game 2 by a 12-5 score, ended the day 31-20 overall and 16-9 in The Summit League.

The Jackrabbits scored an unearned run in the top of the second inning in the opener, only to see Omaha respond with three runs in the home half of the inning. All three Maverick runs scored after two were out as Clayton Taylor plated the first run with a base hit and Cory Buckley followed with a two-run double.

 

Andrew Melton’s double in the fourth inning scored Aaron Machbitz to draw the Jackrabbits to within a run, but Omaha again responded with a run in the fifth inning.

 

SDSU battled back to tie the game with two runs in the sixth. Paul Jacobson led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Melton. Al Robbins then came through with a two-out single to plate pinch-runner Zach Coppola with the tying run.

 

The Jackrabbits stranded the potential game-winning run at third base in the top of the seventh inning to set up Keele’s heroics. Buckley singled with one out before Keele drove a Stephen Bougher pitch over the left-field wall, giving the Mavericks the win and the outright Summit League title.

Keele ended the game 3-for-4 at the plate, while Buckley was perfect in four trips to the plate as the tandem combined for seven of the Mavericks’ 10 hits. SDSU’s seven hits came from seven different players.

 

Sam Murphy, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning was credited with the win in relief. Maverick  starter Matt Tew struck out seven and walked three in six innings of work.

 

Bougher, who suffered only his second loss of the season, struck out three and walked one in a complete-game effort.

 

SDSU never trailed in Game 2, putting up four first-inning runs and knocking out Omaha starter Steven Schoonover after only one-third of an inning. Daniel Marra opened the scoring with a two-run double, and Paul Jacobson and Andrew Melton added run-scoring doubles as five of the first six Jackrabbit batters reached safely.

 

Nick Andrews tallied a run-scoring single in the second inning and Marra collected his third RBI of the game with his third hit of the contest in the fourth to build the Jackrabbit advantage to 6-0.

The Jackrabbits put the game out of reach with a five-run fifth inning in which the Jackrabbits recorded only one hit. Runs scored via an error, two sacrifice flies, and a hit batter and walk with the bases loaded.

 

Omaha got on the board in the sixth as Buckley tripled and scored on a base hit by Keele to end Adam Bray’s shutout bid. The Mavericks extended the game with a four-run seventh inning against the SDSU bullpen, highlighted by Connor McCrite’s bases-clearing three-run triple.

Scott Splett joined Marra in the three-hit club, while Andrews, Sam Pack and reserve Tyler Shannon each posted two of the Jackrabbits’ 15 hits.

 

Bray scattered six hits, did not issue a walk and struck out two batters in improving to 7-2 on the season.

 

The two teams conclude the regular season Saturday with a 1 p.m. game.

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