Jacks Jump On NDSU To Advance To Summit League Tournament Championship
SDSU Beats Bison 13-7 To Return To Tournament Title Game For First Time Since 2013
TULSA, Okla. – South Dakota State jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead and went on to defeat North Dakota State, 13-7, Friday night at J.L. Johnson Stadium to earn a spot in the Summit League Baseball Championship title game.
With the win, the Jackrabbits improved to 18-31 overall. SDSU will face top-seeded Oral Roberts in the title game at 1 p.m. Saturday. Should the Jackrabbits win that game, a winner-take-all game would follow immediately to determine the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
NDSU’s season came to an end with a 26-24 overall record.
The Jackrabbits knocked out NDSU starter Mitch O’Connor after only two-thirds of an inning in batting around in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Anthony Schneider was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a throwing error. After a walk to Nick Smith, Newt Johnson singled up the middle to plate Schneider with the first run of the game. A sacrifice fly by Gus Steiger for the second out of the frame brought home Smith for a 2-0 lead. Skyler Wenninger later greeted reliever Chris Choles with a two-run single to close the first-inning scoring.
After NDSU scored a run in the bottom of the second, the Jackrabbits hung a five-spot on the board in the top of the third as they again sent nine men to the plate. Wenninger recorded his third RBI of the game with a groundout, which was followed by a squeeze bunt by Kolton Michalski that brought home Steiger. Schneider notched a run-scoring single as the lineup turned over for the third time in as many innings, and Smith capped the rally with a two-run double to the left-center gap.
The Bison trimmed the deficit to 9-4 in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run home run down the left-field line by Matt Elsenpeter, but SDSU countered in the top of the fifth as Schneider launched a two-run homer to right to push the lead back to seven at 11-4. It was Schneider’s team-leading eighth home run of the season and second of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Jackrabbit starter Bryce Johnson settled into a groove, closing his seven-inning outing with three scoreless frames. The junior left-hander scattered nine hits, struck out three and walked only one en route to his first victory in an SDSU uniform.
Tony Kjolsing capped the scoring for SDSU with a two-run blast to left field in the eighth. For Kjolsing, it was his seventh round-tripper of the season and his second in three tournament games.
The final Bison tallies came on a solo home run by Tucker Rohde in the eighth and two-run homer by Mason Pierzchalski with two outs in the ninth. Rohde was 4-for-4 to lead NDSU’s 12-hit effort.
Steiger paced the Jackrabbits’ 13-hit attack with a 3-for-4 night at the plate. Schneider, Kjolsing, Josh Falk and Wenninger each finished with a pair of hits.
- The two teams split the season series, 3-3
- SDSU leads the all-time series, 117-69, including a 6-2 advantage in Summit League postseason games
- The Jackrabbits will make their fifth appearance in the Summit League Baseball Championship title game(s) and first since winning the tournament title in 2013
- SDSU improved to 16-16 in nine overall Summit League postseason appearances
- Steiger recorded his eighth three-hit game and team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season, extending his hitting streak to nine games
- Wenninger has tallied 10 of his 14 RBIs for the season during his current seven-game hitting streak
- Newt Johnson became the third Jackrabbit player to reach double figures in stolen bases this season, stealing his 10th base in the fifth inning
- Of Kjolsing’s 15 career home runs, 10 have been hit in the month of May
- Schneider matched an individual season high for the Jackrabbits with four runs scored
- Smith has drawn six walks in three tournament games
-Recap Courtesy SDSU Athletics