Jacks battle back to down Oakland, 7-6
The South Dakota State University baseball team clawed its way out of an early deficit and held on in the final innings for a 7-6 victory over Oakland University Sunday afternoon at Erv Huether Field to close out a four-game Summit League series.
The Jackrabbits, who won the last three games of the series, improved to 27-12 overall and maintained at least a two-game lead in The Summit League with a 13-3 mark in conference play. SDSU has won 24 of its last 27 games overall.
Oakland dropped to 11-24 overall, 5-11 in The Summit League.
The Golden Grizzlies got out of the gates quickly, scoring four times in the top of the first inning against SDSU starter Kolton Emery. Each of the first four Oakland batters reached safely, with Mike Carson driving in the first two runs on a double to left-center field. The other two runs of the inning scored on groundouts.
SDSU chipped away, scoring once in the second and adding a run in the third on an RBI single by Jesse Sawyer.
The Jackrabbits knocked out Oakland starter Aaron Wick in the sixth inning and took the lead in the process. Zach Briggs opened the inning with a base hit and Eric Cain followed with a walk. Briggs took third on a flyout and later scored on Beau Hanowski's second RBI groundout of the game. Billy Stitz blooped a double in front of a sliding center fielder to plate Cain, and Joel Blake delivered Stitz with the go-ahead run on a double to the right-center gap.
SDSU added to its lead on a two-run single by Cain in the seventh.
Emery kept Oakland in check until running out of gas in the eighth. The Golden Grizzlies loaded the bases with three straight singles to open the frame, forcing SDSU to go to its bullpen. Jackrabbit relievers Austin Busse and Deon Entringer each gave up run-scoring sacrifice flies before Trever Vermeulen - the fourth pitcher of the inning - induced Tommy Jablonski to ground out to second base with the bases loaded to end the threat.
After blowing a save opportunity on Saturday, Vermeulen allowed a hit in the ninth but snared a line drive and struck out two batters to finish off his seventh save of the season.
Emery improved to 5-1 on the season as he struck out four and walked one in seven-plus innings.
Oakland held a 16-11 advantage in hits, with Tim Ryan, Jablonski and Aaron Cieslak each tallying three hits. Stitz and Andrew Phelan each posted a pair of hits for the Jackrabbits.
SDSU is scheduled to close out its homestand with a four-game series May 6-8 against North Dakota State. First pitch Friday is set for 2 p.m. at Erv Huether Field.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 7, OAKLAND (Mich.) 6
OU 400 000 020 6-16-2
SDSU 011 003 20X 7-11-1
OU: Aaron Wick, Jeff Gorecki (6)and Ryan Waldhart. SDSU: Kolton Emery, Austin Busse (8), Deon Entringer (8), Trever Vermeulen (8) and Zach Briggs.
W-Emery (5-1). L-Wick (3-6). Save-Vermeulen (7).