Eight is enough for Jacks in win over USF

John Green

It took eight innings for the SDSU offense to get into gear Tuesday afternoon against the University of Sioux Falls. The Jackrabbits were down 5-0 in the bottom of the eighth before an eight-run inning turned the table on the Cougars. SDSU held on to win 8-5, moving the Jacks’ overall record to 13-24-1, while the Cougars fall to 10-29 on the season.

“It’s just good to finally win a game at our last at-bat,” head coach Dave Schrage said. “We had men in scoring position this game and all season that we never batted around, so it’s nice to see it all come together for us.”

The game started out with an Anthony Williams double down the right field line for the Cougars. An RBI single drove him in and USF took a 1-0 lead. SDSU was able to put two men on base in response, but a double play closed out the first inning before the Jacks could move the base runners around. The second inning was scoreless, with both teams leaving one man on base. USF added two more runs to its total in the third inning off of an RBI single and an error before Jackrabbit pitcher Talon Jumper struck out USF’s Brenndan Ward to retire the side. SDSU could not answer the offensive effort of the USF in the bottom of the third, and the Cougars moved to a 3-0 advantage.

The score remained 3-0 in favor of the Cougars until the top of the fifth inning when a two-run Damian Kardas home run pushed the Cougar advantage to five. SDSU pitcher Marcus Heemstra was able to close out the inning with a pair of strikeouts, but the Jackrabbit offense could not respond in the bottom of the inning, and the score remained 5-0 for the next two and a half innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, three consecutive singles by Eric Cain, Aaron Machbitz and Andrew Melton gave the Jackrabbits new life. Then, Nick Andrews drove the ball to the gap in right center for an RBI triple, and SDSU was on the board. Daniel Marra followed with a double to score Andrews, moving the Jacks within one run, with no outs. An RBI single scored Marra, and the score was knotted up, five all.

Phil Paquette added an RBI single to score Andrew Phelan from second to give the Jackrabbits their first lead of the game. The score was 6-5 with one out before a hit batter and a ground out RBI scored Zach Rhodes and Phil Paquette to move the score to 8-5. USF had a final chance to regain the lead, but a J.D. Moore strikeout and two fly balls ended the game for the Cougars. SDSU pitcher Deon Entringer was awarded the win, while Cougar pitcher Derek Fischer received the loss. Moore was credited with the save for the Jackrabbits.

“This was huge for us,” Andrews said. “The loss of momentum in games has been hurting us, so it’s great to see that frustration turned around heading into the bulk of the conference schedule.”