Baseball drops 2-of-3 in season-opening series

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

The opening three-game series did not go exactly as planned, but the Jackrabbit baseball team still came out with their first win of the season.

The Jacks lost the first game 6-3 on Feb. 20. After weather forced a postponement of the game on Feb. 21, the teams played a doubleheader on Feb. 22. The Jacks dropped the first game 5-3 before taking the finale 3-2.

“Overall, I thought we played pretty well,” first-year head coach Ritchie Price said. “Obviously, we would have liked to get out of their winning the series. Other than the fact we didn’t score a whole lot of runs, I was very happy with how we played in every phase of the game.”

In the lone Jackrabbit win, Tony Martin capped a great weekend with a single in the top eighth to put the Jacks up 3-2. Kirby Morsching worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half to give the Jacks their first win of the young season.

The single was the only hit for Martin in the game, but it capped an 8-for-14 weekend at the plate for the senior catcher. Price said a weekend like that was expected out of Martin.

“Tony is really experienced; he’s a four year starter for us,” Price said. “He’s expected to have a big year for us. In order for us a good season, he’s going to have to be the guy who gets it done. He’s a talented player; he’s a very good hitter, and it’s no surprise that he did that well this weekend. He’s capable of doing that each and every weekend.”

The win was the first for Price, who took over on an interim basis after Reggie Christensen resigned following the 2008 season.

“It was nice to get it off my back,” Price said. “It would have been a long ride home if we hadn’t gotten a win, that’s for sure.”

In the first two games of the series, the Jacks struggled with runners on. SDSU left a combined 24 runners on base in the two losses and 32 on the weekend. The 32 runners left stranded was the same number of hits the Jacks had in the series. Price said it was just “one of those weekends.

“I think some guys didn’t have the right approach at the plate with how pitchers were pitching with runners in scoring position,” Price said. “I thought our pitch selection could have been a little bit better. There were a couple of times we hit the ball hard, just right at someone, as well.”

Expectations are high for the Jacks this season. Price said the Jacks expect to be one of the four teams competing in the Summit League Tournament at the end of the season.

Next up for the Jacks is a three-game series with Central Arkansas. The two teams met on the field last year, with the Bears taking 3-of-4 from the Jacks.

“We’re going to have to play better than we did this last weekend, that’s for sure,” Price said.

The series begins on Feb. 27 with a first pitch slated for 2 p.m.