Baseball: SDSU 12, Dakota Wesleyan 3


Record breakers

Three players set team records last weekend against Western Illinois. Jesse Sawyer hit two home runs in the series finale win over the Leathernecks, the second of which gave him sole possession of first place.

“It’s nice,” said Sawyer, who set the record in only three seasons after transferring to SDSU. “It’s a pat on the back.”

Sawyer never received the career-breaking home run ball. He said that wouldn’t have happened if he hit it at home.

“He’s definitely one of the best hitters in program history,” coach Ritchie Price said. “It’s very deserving.”

Trever Vermeulen, a Mitchell native, set the team career saves record in a 5-2 win over Western Illinois Apr. 8. Vermeulen’s 15 saves topped former Jackrabbit Gary Olechoski’s mark of 14 from 2003-06. The side-arm throwing Vermeulen has allowed only one earned run in his past 11 innings of work, tallying 12 strikeouts and allowing only four hits.

“His game against Western Illinois was the best he’s pitched all year,” Price said. “He was locating, his velocity was back up – we’re pretty confident he’s going to be back to form and have a great rest of the season.”

Senior and four-year player Billy Stitz broke a record in the second game against Western Illinois Apr. 9. Stitz set a new record for career hits and added two more hits in the win over Dakota Wesleyan, moving his record to 269 career hits. The senior, considered to have a shot at playing professionally, started off slowly but has heated up during SDSU’s 12-1 stretch in its last 13 games. Stitz entered Wednesday’s game against North Dakota hitting .268.

A perfect bunt

Stitz temporarily stole the show in the seventh inning in SDSU’s 12-3 win. After going hitless in his first four at-bats, Stitz laid down a bunt down the third-base line for a single off knuckleball pitcher Trevor Salmonson that came to a stop fifteen feet from third base and merely a couple inches from the foul line. According to Stitz, he raked the third base line before the game, maybe leading to a better knowledge of the ball’s tendency to roll a certain way down the line.

“I’ve never bunted off a knuckleballer before,” Stitz said. “I wasn’t having a successful day hitting so far so I thought I’d try that.”

“When I turned around everyone was staring at me so I thought it was foul … The first base umpire goes ‘you should pat the grounds crew on the back for raking that line’ and I go ‘ actually, I did that one.’”