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Baseball offense stays hot against NDSU, faces ORU next

ABBY+FULLENKAMP%0AFreshman+Colton+Cox+throws+the+ball+to+catcher+Ian+Cote+during+practice+April+17+in+the+Dykhouse+Stadium.+The+Jacks+face+Oral+Roberts+at+12+p.m.+and+3%3A30+p.m.+Friday%2C+April+20+in+Council+Bluffs%2C+Iowa.
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Baseball offense stays hot against NDSU, faces ORU next

ABBY FULLENKAMP
Freshman Colton Cox throws the ball to catcher Ian Cote during practice April 17 in the Dykhouse Stadium. The Jacks face Oral Roberts at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 20 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

ABBY FULLENKAMP Freshman Colton Cox throws the ball to catcher Ian Cote during practice April 17 in the Dykhouse Stadium. The Jacks face Oral Roberts at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 20 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

ABBY FULLENKAMP Freshman Colton Cox throws the ball to catcher Ian Cote during practice April 17 in the Dykhouse Stadium. The Jacks face Oral Roberts at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 20 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

ABBY FULLENKAMP Freshman Colton Cox throws the ball to catcher Ian Cote during practice April 17 in the Dykhouse Stadium. The Jacks face Oral Roberts at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 20 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Trenton Abrego

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The South Dakota State baseball team pushed its Summit League winning streak to five over the weekend with a series win against the North Dakota State Bison.

SDSU defeated NDSU 5-4 in the first game, then 12-9  in the second game during Thursday’s doubleheader. Despite the cold weather, the Jacks’ bats stayed warm. As a team, SDSU had 31 hits in two games.

In the first game, the Jacks were treated to a gem of relief pitching by senior Derek Feige, who earned his second win and struck out three batters in two innings. Feige allowed just one hit in two innings.

During the second game, the Jacks had good relief pitching again — this time by junior Austin Suhr, who pitched three innings of one-hit baseball. Suhr earned the win and had three strikeouts.

“I thought our bats really showed well against NDSU and our bullpen did a really good job pitching in tough spots,” said head coach Rob Bishop. “I’m happy to keep some momentum.”

Sophomore Josh Falk was the star of both games. He hit a home run in each game and had seven hits in ten at-bats. For his efforts, Falk was named Summit League Player of the Week.

“We have had some guys with big performances that helped carry our team,” Bishop said. “We hope to get a couple more big ones this weekend.”

SDSU (9-20, 7-5) now sits third in Summit League standings — behind the league-leading Oral Roberts Golden Eagles and the Omaha Mavericks. The Golden Eagles are 20-14 overall and 11-4 in the Summit League.

“ORU is ahead of everyone at this point,” Bishop said. “I guess I view it as an opportunity to cut down the distance between us and them and put ourselves in a position that the last two weeks we are playing for something and to get to the top of the league standings.” 

Instead of playing at Erv Huether Field in Brookings as scheduled, the Jacks will open the series April 20 at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa, while the finale will be played April 21 in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Earlier this season, the Jacks were swept by the Golden Eagles in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In that series, the Jacks were outscored 34 to 24 runs.

That was over a month ago when the Jacks dropped nine straight games and weren’t able to piece together all three phases — pitching, fielding and hitting.

The Jacks have won five of their last six games and two consecutive Summit League series.

Offensively, Oral Roberts is led by three of the top four batters in the Summit League in batting average.

Spencer Henson is the top man leading the charge for the Golden Eagles. He is batting a .376 batting average along with 30 runs batted in and four home runs. Despite his ability to hit the ball and get on base consistently, Henson has struck out 28 times in his 109 at-bats this season.

Sophomore infielder Cal Hernandez has a .333 batting average and 20 runs batted in, but has also fallen victim to a high number of strikeouts with 29.

Senior outfielder Noah Cummings has wreaked havoc against opposing pitchers this season with a league-leading five home runs and 32 runs batted in.

Oral Roberts also has two of the top three starting pitchers in the Summit League in senior right-hander Justin McGregor and senior left-hander Miguel Ausua.

McGregor has a 3-1 record in nine games started but owns a 2.65 earned run average — second in the Summit League. McGregor has made a habit of getting swings and misses with 53 strike outs.

Ausua has a 3.19 earned run average and has given opposing teams fits allowing only 20 runs in the 53.2 innings he’s been on the mound.

The series opener is a doubleheader, with the first game starting at noon on April 20. The finale is set to start at 4 p.m. April 21.

“We believe that whoever we play, we can beat if we play well,” Bishop said. “We also know that anyone can beat us if we don’t play well.”

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Baseball offense stays hot against NDSU, faces ORU next