Coming out of the weekend on top, the Jackrabbits claimed three games out of four against the Fort Wayne Mastodons April 12 and the Oakland Grizzlies April 14.
“I am pretty proud of our guys, we’ve had to battle a lot of adversity this year,” said SDSU head coach Dave Schrage. “When you don’t play for four days … [Fort Wayne pitcher Jason] Kalber is a tough guy to face.”
SDSU lost their first game of their double header against the Mastodons on April 12 by a final of 1-0. Layne Somsen battled Fort Wayne’s Jason Kalber, who pitched seven innings and struck out six batters while allowing three hits. Somsen came out on the losing end for the second consecutive week, going 6.2 innings with five strikeouts and one earned run.
The Jacks quickly rebounded with a firework show on offense, but so did the Mastodons. Fort Wayne’s Chuck Weaver went 3.1 innings, giving up seven earned runs.
Daniel Telford, who sat the first game, put the Jacks on the board early with a two-run homerun in the top of the first inning.
“Telford right now is just having a great senior year,” Schrage said. “For him to hit two homeruns in a game and six RBIs … Right now when he gets up to the plate everybody feels like something great is going to happen.”
Fort Wayne plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth and would go on to tie the game at 8-8 after scoring twice more in the fifth and once more in the sixth.
Scott Splett would give SDSU the lead back in the top of the eighth inning with a run-scoring single. Telford locked up the game for the Jacks after he sent a moon shot over the right field wall for a three-run homerun to push SDSU’s lead to 12-8. The Jackrabbits prevailed by a final score of 14-11 to win game two, earning the series split at one game apiece.
“The top of our lineup did a great job in game two,” Schrage said. “Al Robbins, Eric Danforth and Dan [Telford] … We’re fighting the weather here on a weekly basis and fighting a long trip, fighting one and two pitchers. It’s a special group and it’s fun to see, and right now I couldn’t be more proud with how they are dealing with everything that’s going on.”
With one day of rest, the Jackrabbits were set to play the Oakland Grizzlies in Rochester, Mich., on April 12 for a double header.
Stephen Bougher pitched a gem in game one as he went seven innings and gave up only three hits to the Grizzlies.
The Jacks got on the board in the second inning off a Splett single into left, which allowed Paul Jacobson to score off an Oakland error. They added two more runs in the seventh as Jacobson scored on a Splett single up the middle and Splett later scored on another Grizzlies error. The Jacks won by a final score of 3-0 in game one.
Game two went smoothly for the Jackrabbits as they jumped on Oakland early in the first inning with a 2-0 lead. The Grizzlies’ defense proved to be shaky at first, and SDSU capitalized on it. The Jacks hit around the lineup in the fourth inning and capped their scoring tirade in the fifth with two more scores, winning by a final of 10-3.
“Our goal is to win the conference,” Schrage said. “Our whole goal … is getting to the conference tournament first and winning it when we get there.”