Jacks take 2 of 3 in Tulsa, hand ORU first ever Summit League series loss

The South Dakota State University baseball team failed to sweep the Summit-League best Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles after taking the first two games of the series that was played in Tulsa, Okla. over the weekend. The Jacks hold an overall record of 26-16 and a 13-8 mark in the Summit League.

SDSU 2; Minnesota 3

The Jacks gave up only three hits in a one-run loss to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on April 22 in Minneapolis. The Gophers scored the winning run of the 3-2 game in the bottom of the ninth inning on an RBI single by Matt Fiedler. The first Jackrabbit run came in the top of the fifth inning as junior Cody Sharrow scored on a RBI double by senior Eric Danforth. Danforth was later thrown out at home plate on a delayed steal attempt. The Jacks tied the game, 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning when freshman Anthony Schneider, who was hit by a pitch, scored from first base on a double off the bat of senior Al Robbins. Danforth and Robbins each went 2-for-4 from the plate with an RBI each. Senior J.D. Moore was charged with the pitching loss after completing one and one third innings of work giving up one run on one hit and two strikeouts.

“I was really proud of our guys in Minnesota, we were down 2-1 in the ninth and were able to come back and tie it and came up with some big hits in the ninth inning,” Head Coach Dave Schrage said.

SDSU 7; ORU 2

SDSU won the first game of their three-game series with ORU, 7-2, on Friday afternoon in Tulsa. The Jacks scored three runs in the top of the second inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Sharrow cranked a three-run homer that plated Robbins and freshman Newt Johnson. The Golden Eagles scored once in the bottom of the third. The score remained 3-1 until the top the eighth, when the Jacks added four runs. Sophomore Matt Johnson singled to lead off the inning. Newt Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Matt to second. Matt Johnson advanced to third on a passed ball, before scoring on a single by Sharrow. Danforth singled to score Robbins. Junior Paul Jacobson singled up the middle to plate Sharrow. Danforth crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman Luke Ringhofer. Oral Roberts tacked on another run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sharrow led the Jacks offensively with a 2-for-4 performance from the plate and four RBI. Senior Adam Bray completed seven innings and gave up one run on four hits and four walks. Bray struck out six batters.

SDSU 2; ORU 1

The Jackrabbits were victorious again in the second game of the series as they escaped with a 2-1 victory on Saturday. The Jacks scored in the top of the first inning after Jacobson led off with a ground-rule double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Zach Coppola, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ringhofer. The Golden Eagles scored their lone run in the bottom of the third inning. Ringhofer doubled to lead of the SDSU sixth inning and advanced to third on a single by Matt Johnson. Newt Johnson’s RBI fly-out scored Ringhofer to propel the Jacks to the 2-1 victory. Matt Johnson went 3-for-4 from the plate while Newt Johnson had four RBI in the game. Senior Chris Anderson earned the win from the pitchers’ mound for SDSU. Anderson finished six innings giving up one run on 10 hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Senior J.D. Moore tied the Summit League career saves record by striking out one batter and allowing one hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“I don’t think it (winning two games against the Summit League leader) did much for our confidence because we went into the series with a lot of confidence from previous games and series. I feel that after the series, we left with more confidence than we came with knowing we beat a good team two out of three at their home field,” Danforth said.

SDSU 7; ORU 8

The Jackrabbits entered Sunday’s trailing ORU by two games in the Summit League standings. With an 8-7 loss in 10 innings, the Jacks fell to three games back of first place. The Golden Eagles led 4-0 after three innings. SDSU cut the lead in half by scoring twice in the top of the fourth inning. Ringhofer blasted a two-run homer that scored Jacobson. In the top of the sixth inning, the Jackrabbits scored five runs to take a 7-4 lead. Jacobson singled to lead off before Coppola advanced him to third with a double. Coppola moved to third and Jacobson scored on a passed ball. Coppola later scored on another passed ball. Ringhofer walked and moved to second on a single by senior Reid Clary. Freshman Tony Kjolsing’s RBI single to right field pushed Ringhofer across the plate for the second SDSU run of the inning. Robbins reached base on a fielding error by the ORU third baseman after a bunt that would have otherwise been a sacrifice as it scored Clary from third. Danforth scored Kjolsing to cap the five-run SDSU sixth inning. The Jackrabbit’s three-run lead was cut to two in the bottom of the seventh inning as ORU scored once, and then nullified in the bottom of the eighth as senior Marcus Heemstra gave up a two-run home run to Derrian James. “Oral Roberts is a good hitting team and Marcus just left the pitch up and they tied it,” Schrage said. ORU walked off with the victory in the bottom of the tenth inning. Jacobson went 3-for-5 from the plate and Kjolsing went 2-for-4 with one RBI. Ringhofer had a team-high two RBI. Heemstra suffered the loss after allowing three runs in two innings of relief work. Heemstra also allowed four hits while striking out two batters.

The series victory by the Jackrabbits marked the first time Oral Roberts, who was on a 10-game home winning streak, was defeated in a Summit League series.

“Our goal every weekend is to win the series and we were able to do that down there, against a very good team in a tough environment. Obviously it’s a tough place to play,” Schrage said. “They have won 10 in a row at home and never lost a Summit League conference series at home. It’s quite an accomplishment for our guys and the program.”

The Jacks will play a non-conference game against Creighton University on Wednesday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa. SDSU will return to Summit League play on Friday as they open a three-game series with Western Illinois at 3 p.m. at Erv Huether Field in Brookings.