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Jacks lose two out of three against Omaha, prepare for Fort Wayne

ABBY+FULLENKAMP%0AJunior+Nick+Smith+follows+through+after+hitting+the+ball+during+the+game+against+Fort+Wayne+April+2%2C+2017.+The+Jacks+are+4-19+overall+and+2-5+in+the+conference.+SDSU+hosts+Dakota+State+at+3+p.m.+Wednesday%2C+April+11.
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Jacks lose two out of three against Omaha, prepare for Fort Wayne

ABBY FULLENKAMP
Junior Nick Smith follows through after hitting the ball during the game against Fort Wayne April 2, 2017. The Jacks are 4-19 overall and 2-5 in the conference. SDSU hosts Dakota State at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11.

ABBY FULLENKAMP Junior Nick Smith follows through after hitting the ball during the game against Fort Wayne April 2, 2017. The Jacks are 4-19 overall and 2-5 in the conference. SDSU hosts Dakota State at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11.

ABBY FULLENKAMP Junior Nick Smith follows through after hitting the ball during the game against Fort Wayne April 2, 2017. The Jacks are 4-19 overall and 2-5 in the conference. SDSU hosts Dakota State at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11.

ABBY FULLENKAMP Junior Nick Smith follows through after hitting the ball during the game against Fort Wayne April 2, 2017. The Jacks are 4-19 overall and 2-5 in the conference. SDSU hosts Dakota State at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11.

Trenton Abrego

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South Dakota State dropped two of three games to the Omaha Mavericks this weekend, but managed to avoid a sweep.

The Jacks (4-19, 2-5) had 26 hits in the three games but they were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. SDSU left 35 runners stranded on base.

“There were a couple cases where we hit the ball right on the nose, but they made great plays,” head coach Rob Bishop said. “Instead of focusing on getting hits, it needs to be good plate appearances.”

Junior Nick Smith was absent from the lineup against the Omaha Mavericks and hasn’t played since March 17 against Oral Roberts when he had just one at bat.

When he has been at the plate, Smith has made a difference for the Jacks. He is hitting at a .200 mark and has had a few extra base hits with two doubles and a triple.

Sophomore Landon Badger was back in the lineup against Omaha and started, but according to Bishop, he still isn’t healthy. Badger has hit at a .235 batting average mark and has walked four times this season.

“Those two guys change our team when they are clicking,” Bishop said. “There is no question in my mind that when we get those two guys back that we will be better, especially against right-handed pitching.”

The weather, continues to define the Jacks season as the games against Omaha were forced to push games one and two to a doubleheader.

Weather hasn’t only impacted games, it has forced the Jacks to move their practices inside the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex.

“Obviously it’s a great facility, but it’s not the same as far as seeing the ball in the air and playing on dirt is so much different than playing on turf,” Bishop said. “Until we get into a pattern where we can be outside and doing those things we will struggle with consistency.

Up next for the Jacks, they will host Fort Wayne, who is last in the Summit League. The series is going to be in Sioux Falls due to weather.

Fort Wayne (6-17, 2-7) has struggled this year, especially in the Summit League, but are coming off of a series win over the Western Illinois Leathernecks.

Keeping runs off the board has been a weak spot for the Mastodons as opposing teams have scored 170 runs against their pitching staff.

The lineup for the Mastodons features two batters that can get a high volume of hits and rank in the top four for Summit League batting average.

“I think what you will see from us, is in the last six weeks, hopefully we will be playing our best baseball outside,” Bishop said. “At the end of the day, as long as we are in that Conference tournament with the chance to play our best baseball to earn a spot in the regional, that’s what we are aiming for every year.”

The series with Fort Wayne will begin at 3 p.m. April 6 in Sioux Falls.

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Jacks lose two out of three against Omaha, prepare for Fort Wayne