Baseball steals three-game Chicago series

Shayne Gottlob Sportswriter

 The SDSU baseball team pushed its record to 11-11 after winning its three-game series against Chicago State University last weekend.

SDSU was victorious in two of its three games in Chicago, splitting the doubleheader on Friday and taking the final game on Saturday over the Cougars. 

The Cougars, however, did not simply hand the games to the Jackrabbits. 

All three games proved to be bitterly competitive. The first and third games needed extra innings to decide a victor, and SDSU needed an eighth inning score in the second game to narrowly seal the win.

“I thought we showed really good resiliency all three games. All three games were nip and tuck and could have gone either way,” said head coach David Schrage. 

The Jackrabbits fought in a 14-inning grudge match in the first game before losing the contest 2-1. SDSU had a chance to score in the top of the 13th inning and take the lead, but the Cougar’s left fielder gunned down SDSU’s Zach Holt at home plate as he attempted to score. 

However, SDSU bounced back in the second game of the doubleheader and defeated the Cougars 2-1. Zach Coppola drove in both of the Jackrabbits’ runs, adding the first run in the second inning and notching the eventual game-winning run in the top of the eighth. 

SDSU needed a rally in the top of the ninth inning to keep their chances of winning alive. After trailing 4-1, SDSU managed to score five runs and possess a lead going in to the bottom of the ninth. 

The Jackrabbits were only three outs away from the win, but they surrendered two runs to the Cougars, which tied the game 6-6, sending the game to extra innings.

SDSU would only need one more inning though, for they produced four runs in the top of the 10th inning and won the contest 10-6, wrapping up an exciting weekend of tough games for the Jackrabbits. 

“If you look at our scores, we are playing a lot of close games. It shows our guys are battlers and competitors,” Schrage said.

Not only are the Jackrabbits playing close, low-scoring games as of late, but several of those games have also demanded extra innings.

Throughout the month of March, the baseball team has competed in four extra inning games. Of those four extra inning contests, three of them have been played in the last five games. Not to mention every game for the Jackrabbits so far has been played on the road. One might think that fatigue would start to bear down on some of the players. 

Schrage assures that the games themselves are not wearing down the players, but the numerous amount of away games does strike his concern.

“I do worry about the fact that we have been on the road so much,” he said. “It’s just human nature that fatigue starts to set in a little bit.”

However, the extensive road schedule for the Jackrabbits will soon come to an end. The team will play two more road series before hosting 20 of its last 32 games. 

With the end of the road games nearing, SDSU will have a chance to use its early season experience from its close games to compete in the comfortable home environment of Erv Huether Field for most of the second half of the season.

Regardless of where the baseball team is playing, Schrage is proud of his team’s efforts for the first part of the season, and he feels they are moving in the right direction.

“During the season a lot happens, and every season is different. Sometimes, in the early season for us, we have been getting in a lot of close games,” Schrage said. “Our guys have handled it well. We have had some disappointments, and we have had some good wins like we did Saturday. We just have to stay with it.” 

The next action for the baseball team will be a double header on March 28 at Western Illinois.