Five things to know about the South Dakota State baseball team heading into conference play

Carson Herbert, Sports Reporter

Before the South Dakota State baseball team gets any further into Summit League play, here are five things to know about the team.

Freshmen surge

After being a home run shy of the cycle in his first career game as a Jackrabbit, third-baseman Luke Ira has been one of the top hitters for the Jackrabbits this season. He is currently batting .282, has a slugging percentage of .423 and has driven in 10 runs in 78 at-bats.

Nic McCay has become a breakout starter on the mound for the Jackrabbits. The Carlisle, Iowa native has started five games, most recently earning the win against Western Illinois, March 17. McCay went 7 innings, allowed four earned runs and struck out 10 batters in a 7-4 win.

Reliable Relievers

South Dakota State’s bullpen has led by sophomores Bret Barnett and Cody Carlson. Barnett has given up one run in 11.2 innings for a 0.77 ERA. Carlson has been able to get batters confused at the plate and has struck out 19 batters in 17.1 innings. Junior Brett Mogen has made four relief appearances with and currently has a 2.89 ERA. The core has helped the Jackrabbits maintain a sub-five ERA when starters have not been able to go deep into games.

A look around the Summit League
Omaha currently sits on top of the league with an 11-5-1 record and will go into conference play winning four straight games.

Oral Roberts occupies the second spot with a 9-8 record and leads the league in runs.

The bottom half of the league consists of Western Illinois (5-12), Purdue Fort Wayne (4-14) and North Dakota State (2-11). After a 4-0 start to the season, Purdue Fort Wayne has lost 10 consecutive games.

Trouble staying consistent

The Jackrabbits are below .500 and have won notable games against Missouri and Central Arkansas while nearly knocking off Alabama, but the longest winning streak the team has had is two. The offense hit 10 home runs in the first six games of the season, but haven’t hit a home run in nine games.

Hot Bats and Clutch Hitting

A total of 96 runs have been driven in by Jackrabbit hitters with sophomore infielder Gus Steiger, senior outfielder Logan Holtz and junior infielder Braeden Brown all ranking in the top seven in the conference.

No Jackrabbit has seen the ball at the plate better than Holtz. The cleanup hitter in the lineup is hitting .317 for the sixth-best batting average in the league.

Last year’s team batting champion Steiger is riding a seven-game hitting streak. After a slow start to the season, Steiger has heated up and is batting .322, which puts him fifth in the Summit League.