Jacks turn focus to Mastodons


FILE PHOTO Junior Ali Herdliska up to bat during the game against Omaha April 21, 2017.

Colton Prince, Sports Reporter

After snapping North Dakota State’s 21-game winning streak, South Dakota State will turn its attention to the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons.

The Jackrabbits (26-12, 5-4) currently sit in third place in the Summit League, while the Mastodons sit in sixth place.

In their last 25 games, the Mastodons are 3-22, with two wins coming against Omaha and one against North Dakota.

“They got a couple good left-handed hitters. They are scrappy and never give up. They fight until the end, so we are going to have to play a solid 21 innings this weekend,” Jackrabbit head coach Krista Wood said.

In 959 team at-bats, the Mastodons have hit nine home runs, the lowest mark in the Summit League. Fort Wayne also owns the lowest run total with 91.

“They do not have a lot of power numbers. They only have nine homeruns on the year,” coach Wood said. “They have a couple kids that can steal so we need to make sure we are on our game there and just eliminate extra bases, eliminate free bases, walks, hit batters, errors, we need to play a little bit more solid on defense I would say.”

The Mastodons have stolen 25 bases this year and have been caught nine times.

It hasn’t just been at the plate where the Mastodons have struggled on the diamond.

They have also struggled in the bullpen this year as they have walked over 71 batters as well as allowed 89 hits and 11 home runs during the conference season. They also haven’t been able to get many strikeouts and have the lowest mark in the conference with 109.

As a pitching staff, the Mastodons own a 4.56 ERA.

“I think we are pretty prepared coming off this weekend at North Dakota State to make sure we are swinging at good pitches in the zone we are swinging in good counts,” Wood said. “I think that we will continue to prepare for this weekend and their pitching staff.”

The first two of the three games will be played at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19. The Jacks will also play the following day at 11 a.m. to close out the series.