Jacks split series against Bears

Lucas Smith

The SDSU baseball team ended their four-game series against Northern Colorado with a 2-2 split last weekend in Greeley, Colo.

The series started off on a high note Friday when the Rabbits won the opener 10-5 behind a strong pitching performance from Stephen Bougher (3-2) who went seven innings with four strikeouts.

“I just pitched to contact and our defense played well,” Bougher said. “Our pitchers need to keep going deep into ball games.”

First baseman Aaron Machbitz provided some offensive support by going 2 for 4, including a home run with four RBI’s.

“Mach was big for us that game,” Bougher said.

Saturday’s double-header began with a heartbreaking loss when UNC scored two runs in the final inning to secure an 8-7 win.

In the second game, SDSU bounced back with a 7-3 victory. Pitcher Adam Bray (1-2) tossed his best game as a Jackrabbit, giving up two runs while striking out six batters, earning his first win of the season.

“He battled through and got us a win,” said Bougher of his freshman teammate.

Outfielder Phil Paquette dominated UNC’s pitching staff by going a combined 6 for 8 on Saturday bringing his season batting average up to a stellar .393.

“You need to go into every at bat knowing you can get a hit,” said Paquette, who recently moved into the cleanup spot. The slugger produced 12 hits in the series. “As the weekend went on, I just felt more and more confident.”

The most exciting game of the weekend came in the final match on Sunday when the Jacks had a chance to win the series. SDSU trailed 6-15 at the start of the eighth inning and put together a furious comeback. After stringing together seven unanswered runs and seven consecutive hits in the ninth, the team fell short with a 15-13 loss.

“Even though we lost, it was a good moment for our team,” said Assistant Coach Brian Grunzke. “It showed resiliency and it showed our guys won’t quit.”

“I definitely feel like there was a different mentality in the dugout after we made that run in the ninth,” Paquette said. “More confidence.”

The team will need to maintain a positive mindset if they hope to improve their 6-12-1 season record. After starting an abysmal 0-8, the Jacks season has improved having since gone 6-5-1 in their last 12 games.

“We’ve played a very tough early season schedule,” Grunzke said. “We need to be consistent, day in and day out.”

Consistency in ballparks is a luxury the Jacks are without. The team has yet to play a home game this season, one of the downsides of being in a northern climate for the first two months of the season.

“The road kind of becomes your home for the first six weeks of the season. We don’t have much of a choice,” Bougher said.

SDSU won’t see a home crowd until April 10 when they host Mount Marty and then Minnesota on the very next day.

“We can’t wait to use the home atmosphere to our advantage,” said infielder Andrew Melton.