Jacks snap five-game losing streak, go 3-3 in home opener

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

The SDSU baseball team opened their home schedule splitting a six-game home stand against North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota on April 17 to 20.

The home opener was a rousing success, as the Jacks pounded the Bison 19-0 to snap a five-game losing streak. The Jacks got going early, putting up four runs in the bottom of the first inning with the big blow coming from Eric Cain. With the bases loaded, Cain singled up the middle to score two runs and the rout was on. The Jacks continued to put up crooked numbers throughout the game, scoring five times in the third, three in the seventh and four in the eighth.

Five pitchers helped piece the shutout together for the Jacks, with Sam Pieczynski getting his first collegiate win on the hill. The junior worked three innings, striking out two and giving up three hits. Mike Robinson, Blaine Alberta, Trever Vermeulen and Matt Spinar also contributed in the shutout.

Zach Briggs led the Jacks at the plate with two hits, including a grand slam, and five RBI. Cain, Joel Blake, John Lee and Billy Stitz had two hits apiece, with Cain and Lee each driving in three runs for SDSU.

In the second game of the series, the Jacks picked up where they left off, drubbing the Bison 13-3 in the first game of the doubleheader.

After the Bison scored in the top of the second, the Jacks scored twice in their half of the frame on a sacrifice fly by Stitz and a single by Beau Hanowski. The Jacks were able to pull away with a five-run third and a four-run fourth.

It was Stitz and Hanowski that helped do the damage again in the third, as each collected an RBI single after a run had already scored on an error. The Jacks blew the game open in the fourth with an RBI double from Jesse Sawyer, a single by Tony Martin that scored two runs and a double by Cain that scored Martin.

Isaac Johnson got the win for the Jacks on the mound, working six innings, giving up four hits and striking out two. Hanowski led the Jacks at the plate, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Martin went 3-for-4 with the two RBIs, while Sawyer and Cain had two hits apiece.

Offense was at a premium in the third game of the series, with the Bison taking a 1-0 victory.

John Straka threw a complete game for NDSU, limiting the Jacks to just two hits and striking out seven. Layne Somsen was just as good for the Jacks on the mound, as the freshman threw a complete game four-hitter and struck out four.

SDSU loaded the bases in the bottom of the second before Straka was able to strike out Scott Hood. The Jacks had another chance in the seventh as they were able to get two runners on before Straka was able to induce a groundout from Cain to end the game.

Offense was again at a premium in the final game of the series, as the Bison were able to get a 3-1 victory and leave town with a split.

The Bison got on the board in the second on a double by Kenny Beese that scored Kyle Harrison and added another run in the sixth.

NDSU starter Zach Wentz carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Stitz and Blake each collected singles. Stitz was able to score on a throwing error later in the inning for the only run for SDSU.

Caleb Thielbar took the loss for the Jacks on the mound, working eight innings, striking out two and giving up three runs.

The Jacks ended their home stand with a split of a doubleheader against UND, with the Sioux taking game one 12-5 and the Jacks taking game two 10-8.

In the first game, the Jacks got on the board early with two runs in the first on a two-run home run by Sawyer. The Sioux scored a run in each of the second and third innings and then three in the fourth, fifth and sixth each.

David Lind pitched the third straight complete game against the Jacks, giving up eight hits. Alberta took the loss on the mound for the Jacks, working two innings in relief of Robinson, giving up five runs, four earned, and striking out two.

In the nightcap, the Jacks scored four times in the first three innings and then answered a four-run fourth by the Sioux with five runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Pieczynski earned his second win of the home stand, working into the seventh inning, striking out two and giving up seven runs.

Sawyer and Lee each hit solo home runs and Stitz led the Jacks at the plate, going 3-for-4, while Lee and Stephen Turner had two hits each.

SDSU squared off against UND again on April 22 when the teams played a doubleheader in Grand Forks at 1 p.m.