Jacks lose inaugural game in Jackrabbit Softball Stadium

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

In their much delayed home opener, the Jackrabbits committed more errors, four, then recorded hits, one, in their 3-0 loss to rival North Dakota State in the first game of a doubleheader.

The doubleheader marked the opening of the new Jackrabbit Softball Stadium on campus. The Jacks have been playing off-campus at Southbrook Park for the past decade.

In order to celebrate the first home game, the athletic department provided 100 free hamburgers and free fruit punch to fans in attendance.

SDSU Head Coach Shane Bouman said finally getting a home game was an advantage for the team because it allowed them to sleep in their own beds, attend class and eat their own meals.

“(It is) a huge advantage for us, and I think you could see by the way we played,” Bouman said.

Although the Jacks had the home-field advantage, it was NDSU pitcher Allison Bakke who controlled the game for the Bison, only giving up one hit and striking out 11, compiling her 18th win of the season. Bakke was so dominant in her complete game shutout, the Jacks did not get a ball in play until the third out of the third inning, and it took five inning for the Jacks to record their first hit of the game, a single by first baseman Kiley Schwedhelm.

“Offensively, I’d say you could expect that because we haven’t played for a week and that can happen,” Bouman said.

The only flaw in Bakke’s performance was her occasional lack of control, walking three SDSU batters.

“Bakke did a great job today. (She) kept us off balance,” Bouman said.

The walked batters did not come back to haunt Bakke though. The Jacks only managed four base runners all game. But when the Jacks got on base, they were aggressive. They would either attempt to bunt the runner to second or have the runner steal second base.

“That’s the aggressive style we play. We’re going to bunt them to move them to second base or we’re going to steal and use our speed,” Bouman said.

The Jacks have had success running and bunting all season, but struggled with it against the Bison.

“We had seven bunts that were not executed. So that is something we definitely need to work on,” Bouman said.

Stealing bases was another problem for the Jacks. They only succeed in two of their three attempts, after entering the game with an 80 percent success rate. Sophomore outfielder Brooke Postma was thrown out stealing for the first time as a Jackrabbit, after succeeding in 35 attempts.

SDSU never mounted a serious threat during the game. The Jacks never got a runner past second base, never batted more than four players in an inning and never had two runners on base at the same time.

Despite the lack of base runners, SDSU stayed in the game, thanks to a solid pitching performance by Jenna Marston. Marston threw a complete game, her team-leading 13th of the season, giving up zero walks, four hits and two earned runs. Marston made a few Bison look silly, fooling them with a devastating changeup on her way to three strikeouts in the game.

“Jenna threw phenomenal and gave us a chance to win,” Bouman said.

The seventh-inning pitchers’ duel saw only five hits total. NDSU scored first, notching the first run of the game in the fourth inning on a ground ball to short. Jackrabbit shortstop Jessica Vineyard fired the ball home, but the throw was not in time to prevent Kelly Cantrel from scoring the first run of the game.

Marston held the Bison scoreless for the next two innings, but NDSU broke the game open in the seventh inning. Errors killed the Jacks in the final inning of play, giving up two runs, one unearned.

“Errors have plagued us a lot this season,” Bouman said.