Jacks ready to be home after month on the road

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SDSU baseball’s first home game of the season is 3 p.m. Wednesday against Dakota Wesleyan.

The South Dakota State baseball team fell to 9-10 overall, and 3-3 in Summit League play after losing all three games against Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

The Jacks also lost two starting pitchers to injuries. Pitcher Ryan Froom suffered an elbow injury in the second game of the series, after facing seven batters. Tyler Olmstead was replaced by Bryce Hanson as Sunday’s starting pitcher because of a shoulder injury.

“It’s tough losing two starting pitchers,” SDSU head coach Robert Bishop said. “But I was impressed by the competitiveness the team showed.” 

SDSU out-hit Oral Roberts 31-30 for the series, but only had one extra base hit, which was a Matt Johnson solo home run. 

The Jacks struggled to drive in runs, leaving 33 runners on base during the series.

“We were making good contact with the ball,” Bishop said. “We were just struggling to drive the ball and part of that is because we didn’t do well in good counts. Also, caps off to Oral Roberts. They did a great job pitching, which made hitting tough for us.”

The Jacks were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the fifth before Oral Roberts scored five runs to take the lead. SDSU chipped away at Oral Roberts’ lead by scoring two runs in the seventh and then tying the game at 6-6 in the ninth. Both teams were scoreless through 11 innings. The game was then suspended by rain and resumed the next day where Oral Roberts drove in the winning run in the 13th inning, finishing the game 7-6.

Game two was played the same day and Oral Roberts carried their momentum into it. Oral Roberts scored four in the bottom of the second but SDSU pulled within one by scoring three runs at the top of the third. The Jacks then allowed three more runs and never caught up, losing 11-5.

SDSU jumped to a quick 1-0 in the final game of the series. Oral Roberts tied the game with one run in the bottom of the fourth before going off for five runs in the sixth. SDSU was able to get back one in the ninth but fell 6-2.

The Jacks will play their first home games this week, starting off with one game against Dakota Wesleyan (6-13) Wednesday, and a weekend series against Fort Wayne (4-17). Bishop said the Jacks have to take it game-by-game and even though both teams haven’t played well this season, the Jacks can’t take them lightly.

“Playing 19 on the road is tough, especially for student athletes. They have to deal with traveling, eating in restaurants, as well as keeping up with homework,” Bishop said. “The guys will be glad to be back in their own beds and will be excited to defend home field.” 

The Jacks will need to finish in the top four of the Summit League standings so they can qualify for the Summit League tournament in hopes of winning and making it to a regional tournament. 

“We started off Summit League play sweeping the series against Omaha, and then last weekend we lost all three to Oral Roberts which is the low point of this season, but we’ll be just fine,” Bishop said.