Jacks drop home opener, 3-2
BROOKINGS, S.D. — Kyle Kleinendorst’s two-run single in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference as North Dakota State defeated South Dakota State, 3-2, in the Summit League baseball opener for both teams Friday afternoon at blustery Erv Huether Field.
NDSU improved to 13-11 overall, while the Jackrabbits dropped to 12-10 on the season. The two squads are scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday, starting at noon.
In a duel between two of the top pitchers in The Summit League — NDSU’s John Straka and the Jackrabbits’ Layne Somsen — the Bison drew first blood on an opposite-field solo home run by Nick Altavilla. Somsen had retired the first 14 batters he faced prior to Altavilla’s solo blast over the left field fence.
SDSU tied the game in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by freshman Zach Coppola that scored Aaron Machbitz. Machbitz opened the inning with a base hit, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Melton and took third on a single by Reid Clary.
The Bison regained the lead against Somsen in the eighth. John Skrbec opened the frame by drawing a leadoff walk. After an out, Tim Colwell was ruled safe on a play at first base after a diving stop by Jackrabbit third baseman Andrew Melton, putting runners at first and second. Somsen then struck out Jon Hechtner for the second out before walking Blake Turbak to load the bases. Kleinendorst then jumped on the first pitch of his at-bat, lining a single to center field to score both Skrbec and Colwell.
The Jackrabbits countered with a run in the home half of the eighth. Eric Danforth looped a leadoff single to left field and scored on Daniel Telford’s double to the left-center gap two batters later. Straka then struck out the next two SDSU hitters to end the threat.
Coppola reached on an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to put the tying run on base, but Al Robbins grounded back to Straka to end the game.
A senior right-hander, Straka struck out five, walked two and scattered eight hits in the complete-game effort. He improved to 5-0 on the season.
Somsen, also a senior right-hander, fanned nine and walked three in eight innings. He allowed five hits in falling to 2-2.
Telford was the only player with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .488.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 3, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 2
NDSU 000 001 020 3-6-1
SDSU 000 000 110 2-8-1
NDSU: John Straka and Michael Leach. SDSU: Layne Somsen, Talon Jumper (9) and Reid Clary.
W-Straka (5-0). L-Somsen (2-2). Save-none.
HR: NDSU-Nick Altavilla (1).