Jackrabbits prepare for NCAA debut
BROOKINGS, S.D. – The South Dakota State University baseball team will make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level, traveling this weekend to the Eugene Regional in Eugene, Ore.
The Jackrabbits, 35-22 overall, will meet host and No. 8 national seed Oregon in first-round action Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Pacific Time (8:05 p.m. Central) at PK Park on the University of Oregon campus. Oregon enters the matchup 45-14 overall.
Games from the Eugene Regional will be aired on ESPN3.com. In addition, all of SDSU’s tournament games will be broadcast live on Brookings-based KJJQ 910 AM and free on the Jackrabbit Extra at GoJacks.com, with Tyler Merriam calling the play-by-play. Pre-game coverage begins 15 minutes prior to scheduled first pitch.
A tournament schedule follows:
Friday, May 31
* Game 1: No. 2 Rice (Texas) (41-17) vs. No. 3 San Francisco (Calif.) (34-22), 2 p.m PT
* Game 2: No. 1 Oregon (45-14) vs. No. 4 South Dakota State (35-22), 6 p.m. PT
Saturday, June 1
* Game 3: First-round losers, 2 p.m. PT
* Game 4: First-round winners, 6 p.m. PT
Sunday, June 2
*Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, noon PT
*Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 4 p.m. PT
Monday, June 3
*Game 7: Second championship game (if necessary), 6 p.m. PT
THE SERIES: Friday’s game will mark the first time South Dakota State and Oregon have met on the baseball diamond.
In the other half of the bracket, the Jackrabbits have not faced San Francisco, but have a 1-1 record all-time against Rice. Under coach Erv Huether, South Dakota State lost a 3-2 decision to Rice in 1978, but came back to record a 7-3 victory over the Owls a year later.
POSTSEASON HISTORY: Although the Jackrabbits will be making their first-ever NCAA Regional appearance at the Division I level, South Dakota State is no stranger to postseason baseball.
The Jackrabbits made nine NCAA postseason appearances at the Division II level, compiling a 7-17 record. SDSU advanced to the Division II College World Series in 1984 under coach Mark Ekeland, which was later followed by five regional appearances in the first six seasons of the decade of the 1990s.
South Dakota State’s first season of baseball at the Division I level was 2005.
Following is a list of NCAA Division II postseason appearances:
1973 – at Maryville, Mo. (1-2)
1975 – at Brookings, S.D. (0-2)
1977 – at Mankato, Minn. (0-2)
1984 – at Brookings, S.D. (3-1) – regional champion
1990 – at Edwardsville, Ill. (0-2)
1992 – at Evansville, Ind. (0-2)
1993 – at Brookings, S.D. (2-2)
1994 – at Warrensburg, Mo. (1-2)
1995 – at Warrensburg, Mo. (1-2)
Nine total appearances: 7 wins, 17 losses
NCAA Division II College World Series Appearances
1984 – at Riverside, Calif. (0-2)
* vs. Cal State Northridge – L, 2-17
* vs. Troy (Ala.) – L, 6-12
One appearance: 0 wins, 2 losses
30-WIN SEASONS: The Jackrabbits have turned in their third 30-win season in the last four years and fourth at the Division I level, recording the milestone win with a 6-5 victory at North Dakota State in the second game of a May 14 doubleheader.
SDSU posted its first 30-win season as a Division I member with a 34-19 campaign in 2007. The Jackrabbits then posted back-to-back 30-win campaigns in 2010 and 2011 with respective marks of 39-21 and 37-20, reaching the Summit League tournament title game each season. The 2010 squad tied the record for most wins in a season, which was previously set in both 1993 and 1994.
The Jackrabbits won 30 or more games seven times as a member of NCAA Division II. The 1993 and 1994 squads were part of a string of five consecutive 30-win seasons under coach Mark Ekeland from 1992-96.
BIG TURNAROUND: The 2013 Jackrabbit baseball team has recorded the biggest turnaround in program history, nearly doubling its win total from a year ago.
In 2012, South Dakota State finished with an 18-33-1 record in Dave Schrage’s inaugural season as head coach, missing the Summit League Baseball Championship for the first time since the program became eligible for postseason consideration in 2009. The 2013 edition of the Jackrabbits enters the NCAA Tournament with 17 more wins than a season ago, surpassing the 14-win turnaround between the 1972 (5-14) and 1973 (19-14) squads.
SUMMIT TOURNAMENT RECAP: South Dakota State claimed its first-ever Summit League tournament title, reeling off four consecutive victories to claim the crown and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The top-seeded Jackrabbits dropped their opening-round game, 4-2, to fourth-seeded Western Illinois on May 23 in Rochester, Mich. SDSU staved off elimination with an 8-4 win over host Oakland on May 24, followed by a 5-4 victory in a rematch with Western Illinois on May 25. The Jackrabbits trailed 4-0 through three and a half innings versus WIU.
The SDSU rally set up a championship series with third-seeded North Dakota State. Needing to win twice on May 26, the Jackrabbits recorded 2-0 and 1-0 shutouts over the rival Bison to clinch the title.
As a pitching staff, the Jackrabbits finished the tournament with a 1.20 earned run average and did not allow a run over the final 23 1/3 innings. South Dakota State pitchers struck out 29 batters and walked only six in 45 total innings in the tournament. Jackrabbit hurlers did not issue a walk in either game of the championship series against North Dakota State.
Five South Dakota State players were named to the all-tournament team:
* Stephen Bougher, pitcher, 2 appearances, 1-0 record, 0.00 ERA, 9 IP, 4 K, 3 BB;
* J.D. Moore, pitcher, 3 appearances, 2 saves, 0.00 ERA, 3.2 IP, 3 K, 0 BB;
* Kolton Emery, pitcher, 1 appearance, 1-0 record, 0.00 ERA, 7.2 IP, 5 K, 0 BB;
* Scott Splett, outfielder, 5 games, .438 avg. (7-for-16), 4 runs, 2 2B, 3 RBI
* Daniel Telford (MVP), designated hitter, 5 games, .389 avg. (7-for-18), 4 runs, 3 2B, 1 HR,5 RBI, .722 slg.