Jackrabbits slide past Western
ROCHESTER, Mich. – South Dakota State battled back from a 4-0 deficit Saturday afternoon to defeat Western Illinois, 5-4, and advance to the Summit League baseball championship for the fourth time in five years.
The top-seeded Jackrabbits, 33-22 overall, will face third-seeded North Dakota State at noon Eastern Time (11 a.m. Central) Sunday, followed by a second championship game, if necessary. SDSU will need to win twice to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the NCAA Division I level. NDSU advanced to the title game for the second consecutive year after shutting out Western Illinois, 3-0, in Saturday’s first game.
Against SDSU, Western Illinois scored two batters into the game. Zack Burling reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Dan Dispensa’s base hit to right field. Dispensa made it 2-0 two batters later when Steve Kedroski hit the first of his two doubles to the right-center gap.
The Fighting Leathernecks built their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning against SDSU starter Adam Bray. Tanner Glore and Brent Turner opened the inning with singles and moved to third and second, respectively, on a balk. A run-scoring groundout by J.P. Maestas plated Glore, with Turner scoring on a sacrifice fly by Burling.
SDSU began its comeback in the fourth inning as Reid Clary dumped a two-out single into center field that scored Paul Jacobson. The Jackrabbits added a run in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Daniel Telford, which drove in Eric Danforth.
The Jackrabbits gained the lead in the seventh inning. Al Robbins led off the inning by drawing a walk against WIU starter Tyler Willman, who was then lifted in favor of Nick Smith. Scott Splett doubled in Robbins, who slid around a tag at the plate, before Telford followed with a double to plate Splett with the tying run. Telford would then score what turned out to be the winning run on a passed ball.
Talon Jumper retired the first five batters he faced out of the bullpen for SDSU before giving way to closer J.D. Moore with two outs and two runners on in the eighth. Moore induced a fly ball to end the threat in the eighth, then set down the Fighting Leathernecks in order in the ninth to up his Jackrabbit single-season saves record total to 12.
Robbins and Telford each posted two hits for SDSU. Burling, Kedroski and Glore each tallied two of the Fighting Leathernecks’ nine hits.
Bray struck out two in six innings of work, while Willman fanned six and walked three in his start for WIU.
The Fighting Leathernecks ended their season 19-37 overall.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 5, WESTERN ILLINOIS 4
WIU 200 200 000 4-9-1
SDSU 000 110 30X 5-7-0
WIU: Tyler Willman, Nick Smith (7), Sam Welvaert (7), Brian Loconsole (8) and Mark Garton, Manny Reyes (8). SDSU: Adam Bray, Talon Jumper (7), J.D. Moore (8) and Reid Clary.
W-Jumper (4-2). L-Smith (1-5). Save-Moore (12).