Baseball runs spring break gauntlet, open conference play fixed against Omaha

By: Drew Carroll News Editor

The South Dakota State University baseball team played 10 games in 12 days, including opening up Summit League action, over spring break.

The Jacks finished with a 7-10 record after that stretch of time.

The Jackrabbits started their spring break schedule with four games against Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.

SDSU 3; Southern University 0

SDSU won the first three games before dropping the series finale on Sunday, March 8.

Junior Zach Coppola led the Jacks to a 3-0 victory to open the series on March 6. Coppola had three hits in five at bats and was credited with one run batted in (RBI). Senior Adam Bray improved his record to 1-1, as the Jacks moved to 3-5 on the season. Bray pitched eight innings, giving up one hit and no runs. He also walked two batters and struck out seven.

SDSU 12; Southern University 5

The next day the Jackrabbits outscored Southern University 24-11 in a double-header. SDSU improved their overall record to 4-5 as they routed Southern University by a score of 12-5 in the first game.

Freshman Tony Kjolsing led the Jacks offensively by going three for five from home plate and crossed the plate twice to score two runs in the first game of the double-header. Kjolsing also had three RBIs. Senior Eric Danforth matched Kjolsing’s mark of three for five and scored three times. Senior Reid Clary added one hit in his four at bats and drove in three runs. Senior Chris Anderson earned the win on the pitchers’ mound by throwing six innings allowing eight hits, giving up four runs on three walks and four strikeouts. Anderson improved his record to 2-1.

SDSU 12; Southern University 6

In the second game of the twin bill the Jacks put together a 12-6 victory.

Coppola went three for four from the plate driving in one run and scoring twice. Freshman Luke Ringhofer blasted a two-run home run as his only hit in two attempts. Ringhofer also crossed the plate to score one other time, and picked up another RBI on a sacrifice fly later in the game. Freshman Anthony Schneider had two hits in three at bats, drove in one run and scored one run. Senior Chad Hodges received the win from the hill and improved his record to 1-0, as he completed five innings allowing four runs on seven hits, three walks and four strikeouts.

SDSU 4; Southern University 10

SDSU lost their final game in Baton Rouge by a score of 10-4.

Junior Paul Jacobson went three for five from the plate driving in two runs and scoring one. Coppola had four hits in five at bats in the losing effort. Junior Eldon Evans suffered the loss after throwing four and two thirds innings. Evans gave up four runs on five hits, three walks and four strikeouts.

“I thought we played pretty well down there. Our hitting that Saturday really got going. I thought Adam Bray pitched his best game that Friday,” head coach Dave Schrage said. “We won three out of the four and won our series, so it was a good way to start the trip. I thought we continued that the next two days. We played some really good baseball and we were putting runs together and pitching it well at the same time.”

SDSU 13; Tougaloo 1

The Jacks continued their spring break trip with a stop in New Orleans, La. to demolish Tougaloo (Miss.) by a score of 13-1 in seven innings.

Sophomore Matt Johnson went two for three from home plate to drive in two runs and scored twice. Juniors Jesse Munsterman and Zach Holt both also went two for three from the plate. Munsterman added three RBIs and scored one time, while Holt also chipped in three RBIs and crossed the plate once. Junior Joe Erickson was credited with the victory and improved to 1-0. Erickson threw four innings allowing one run on three hits. He walked one batter and struck out five.

With the victory, the Jackrabbits improved to 6-6 on the season.

SDSU was scheduled to play a game against Southern Mississippi on March 10 in Hattiesburg, Miss but the game was canceled.

SDSU 7; Mississippi Valley State 4

The Jacks continued the stretch in Jackson, Miss. as they defeated Mississippi Valley State by a score of 7-4.

Freshman Newt Johnson scored one run after going two for three from the plate to lead SDSU offensively. Kjolsing had two hits in five at bats with one RBI. Matt Johnson also went two for five from home plate. Sophomore Ryan Froom was credited with the win on the mound as he completed five innings allowing only two runs on three hits and one walk. Froom struck out four batters and moved his record to 2-1.

“I think that we started 5-1 because we showed up to the field loose, everybody was excited that we were finally in some warm weather and that gave us a lot of energy right away,” Kjlosing said. “I also think we started hot because of the confidence we have in the guys around us and then when we go and put up 10 runs on a team it helps to keep boosting the confidence in our team.”

SDSU 4; Omaha 6

SDSU opened Summit League Conference play on March 13 as they started a three-game series with Omaha.

The Jacks dropped the first game 6-4.

Coppola went two to four from the plate and Danforth also went two for four and scored twice. Kjolsing had one hit in three at bats, driving in three runs and scoring once. Bray was credited with the loss after finishing six and one-third innings allowing six runs on eight hits, one walk and nine strikeouts.

SDSU 6; Omaha 7

The series with Omaha continued with a 7-6 loss on March 14.

Jacobson scored one run and batted three for five. Matt Johnson drove in one run, scored one run on two hits in five at bats and Clary also had one RBI and scored one run on his two hits in four at bats. Ringhofer added three more hits for the Jacks. Senior Talon Jumper took the loss as the Jacks fell to 7-8 on the season. Jumper pitched two and two-thirds innings and allowed one run on one hit, two walks and struck out four batters.

SDSU 7; Omaha 14

Omaha completed the three-game sweep with a 14-7 win over the Jackrabbits March 15.

Matt Johnson drove in two runs with his one hit and Jacobson also had two RBIs. Hodges suffered the loss for SDSU after pitching three and two-third innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

The Jacks fell to a 0-3 mark in Summit League action and a 7-9 record on the season.

“They made plays and we didn’t, that’s the bottomline,” Schrage said. “We had a lead in the first game and we weren’t able to hold it then we came back and tied it, lost it in the bottom of the ninth. They had some clutch hitting. I thought they hit the ball better than we did overall as a series. We didn’t pitch it very well on the weekend, that was the one thing that we didn’t do. We’ve been playing really good defense and I think we had five errors in the Sunday game. We didn’t make plays and Omaha did.”

SDSU 2; Creighton 4

The Jacks finished the most recent stretch of their season with a non-conference match-up in Omaha against Creighton University on Tuesday evening. SDSU fell to the Bluejays, 4-2. Kjolsng led the Jacks with one RBI on one hit in four at bats. The Jackrabbits led by a score of 2-1 after plating two runs in the third inning before giving up two runs to the Jays in the sixth and one more in the seventh. Sophomore Ethan Kenkel suffered the loss for the Jacks after throwing only one inning, allowing two runs on two hits, and one walk. Kenkel struck out one batter and threw one wild pitch. 

Baseball to return

 The baseball team is scheduled to return to action on Friday in Macomb, Ill. with a three-game series against Western Illinois.       

“We need to find a way to get a win. That’s the biggest thing,” Schrage said. “It will be a battle. Every weekend in that league right now is going to be a battle. We kind of put ourselves behind the eight-ball with the way we started so we have got to find a way to dig out of this hole.”