North Dakota State pushed a run across in the top of the 15th inning and held on for a wild 8-7 victory over South Dakota State Sunday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
In salvaging the final game of the four-game series, the Bison improved to 17-24 overall and 11-8 in The Summit League. In losing what is believed to be the longest game in school history, SDSU dropped to 30-13 overall and 16-4 in The Summit League but maintained its two-game lead in the league standings after Oral Roberts dropped a 6-4 decision at Oakland on Sunday.
NDSU never trailed in the game, scoring single runs in each of the first three innings. Zach Wentz, who had hits in his first four trips to the plate, drove in the third-inning run with a base hit.
The Jackrabbits tied the game in the home half of the third with a pair of runs. Andrew Melton and Beau Hanowski opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Melton scored on an error and Hanowski crossed home plate on Joel Blake's single to center field.
The Bison regained the lead in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Nick Colwell that helped lead to an early exit for SDSU starter Kolton Emery.
SDSU managed to stay within striking distance, pulling to within 7-6 on a run-scoring double by Hanowski in the eighth, and tying the game with a run in the ninth. Blake led off the bottom of the ninth with a base hit. Two batters later, Daniel Telford hooked a double into the right-field corner off Bison closer Jason Mattila that scored pinch-runner Phil Paquette all the way from first.
The Jackrabbits squandered a golden opportunity to win the game in a bizarre 11th inning. In the top half of the inning, NDSU first baseman Zach Heidmann was ejected for arguing a called third strike, and in the bottom of the half of the frame, head coach Tod Brown, pitching coach Jake Angier and another player were ejected when SDSU's leadoff batter Billy Stitz was ruled safe on a close play at first base. Andrew Phelan followed with a hit-and-run single that put runners at the corners with nobody out. After an intentional walk to Zach Rhodes loaded the bases, Mattila struck out both Aaron Machbitz and Jesse Sawyer before getting Eric Cain to fly out to left field.
From there, the game turned into a duel between Mattila and fellow closer Trever Vermeulen. A returning All-American, Vermeulen struck out a career-high eight batters in 6 1/3 innings before exiting after the 14th.
NDSU's game-winning rally started when Wes Satzinger led off the 15th inning by being hit by a pitch thrown by Deon Entringer. Satzinger moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Tyler Steen's solid single to right field.
The Jackrabbits threatened in the bottom of the 15th as Phelan walked with two outs and Rhodes singled after the Bison dropped a foul pop fly to further extend the inning. With the tying run in scoring position, Machbitz was robbed of extra bases on a diving catch by Nick Colwell in the left-center field gap to end the game.
The Bison notched 20 hits in the game, which took four hours and 38 minutes. Hanowski led SDSU's 18-hit effort with a 4-for-7 day at the plate.
Each team stranded 16 runners on base in the game.
Matilla threw seven innings in relief to earn the victory. The right-hander struck out six, walked two and surrendered seven hits.
The two teams are scheduled to play a non-conference game Tuesday in Fargo. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 8, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 7 (15 inn.)
NDSU 111 201 010 000 001 8-20-3
SDSU 012 101 011 000 000 7-18-1
NDSU: Luke Anderson, Kyle Kingsley, Jason Mattila and Tyler Steen. SDSU: Kolton Emery, Austin Busse (4), Erik DeJong (8), Trever Vermeulen (8), Deon Entringer (15), Marcus Heemstra (15) and Zach Briggs.
W-Mattila (3-2). L-Entringer (1-1). Save-none.