Phil Paquette drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning to give South Dakota State a 4-3 victory and a doubleheader sweep of IPFW in Summit League baseball action Thursday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
The Jackrabbits, who won the opener, 6-2, improved to 34-17 overall and maintained at least a share of the lead in the Summit League standings with a 19-7 conference mark. IPFW, which suffered a serious setback for a potential berth in next week's Summit League tournament, fell to 16-33 overall and 11-15 in league play.
In the opener, the Jackrabbits scored five times in the bottom of the first inning en route to the 6-2 win. Four of the runs against Mastodon starter Nick Opitz were unearned. Andrew Melton, who doubled to lead off the game, scored the first Jackrabbit run on an error. Zach Briggs plated two runs with a single to right field and Eric Cain followed with a run-scoring single. The final run of the inning scored on IPFW's second error of the inning.
IPFW had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a run-scoring single by A.J. Christensen that scored Will Faulkner. SDSU starter Stephen Bougher worked out of jams in both the third and fourth innings to keep the Jackrabbits on top.
Both starters settled into grooves in the middle innings, with Opitz retiring 15 batters in a row before running into trouble in the eighth. Jesse Sawyer and Aaron Machbitz broke up the string with back-to-back singles before Briggs knocked in his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
Bougher notched a career-high eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter as he notched his fifth win of the season. The sophomore right-hander scattered eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Sawyer was the lone Jackrabbit with more than one hit as he went 2-for-4 and scored twice. IPFW, which held a 12-8 advantage in hits, had four players with two hits.
In the nitecap, SDSU surrendered the lead in the top of the ninth, tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and won the game, 4-3, in the 14th.
IPFW grabbed a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, scoring twice against Vermeule. Pinch-hitter Carter DeBoe led off the inning with a base hit and advanced to second when Garrett Segraves bunt attempt was mishandled by Vermeulen, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. After a groundout advanced the runners, Brett Clark delivered a two-run single up the middle.
The Jackrabbits responded in the bottom of the ninth to knot the game at 3-all. Pinch-hitter Daniel Telford led off with a walk against IPFW starter Ryan August. With Matt Ransbottom on in relief, Briggs dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Telford to second. With one out, Billy Stitz lined a single to left that scored pinch-runner Zach Higgins and Stitz moved to second on an error.
SDSU had a chance to win the game as Zach Rhodes lined a single to right field, but Stitz was thrown out at home on a perfect throw by Nate Thomas to end the inning.
Both teams had a chance to take the lead in the 12th as each team squandered a leadoff double. IPFW had a runner at third base with one out in the 12th, but SDSU reliever Kolton Emery induced a groundout and a flyout to end the threat.
Joel Blake and Rhodes started the Jackrabbits' game-winning rally in the 14th with back-to-back singles. Cain loaded the bases with a base hit to left. New reliever Steve Danielak got Jesse Sawyer to foul out for the second out of the inning, but issued four straight balls to Paquette to force in the game-winning run.
Blake was 3-for-4 and drove in SDSU's first run of the game with a fifth-inning double. Rhodes and Phelan also tallied three of the Jackrabbits' 13 hits.
Emery pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief as he improved to 7-1 on the season. He allowed one hit and walked one. Starter Alex Oberle allowed one run on eight hits in six innings of work. Oberle struck out one and did not walk a batter.
August also pitched well in eight-plus innings of work for IPFW. The right-hander allowed four hits and seven walks, while striking out three.
Clark was 2-for-6 and drove in all three IPFW runs.
The two teams are scheduled to wrap up the regular season with a doubleheader Friday. First pitch is slated for noon at Erv Huether Field.
Game 1: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 6, IPFW 2
IPFW 100 000 001 2-12-2
SDSU 500 000 01X 6-8-0
IPFW: Nick Opitz and Cory Miller. SDSU: Stephen Bougher, Austin Busse (7), Trever Vermeulen (9) and Zach Briggs.
W-Bougher (5-4). L-Opitz (4-8). Save-Vermeulen (9).
Game 2: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 4, IPFW 3 (14 inn.)
IPFW 001 000 002 000 00 3-12-1
SDSU 000 010 011 000 01 4-13-3
IPFW: Ryan August, Matt Ransbottom (9), Steve Danielak (14) and Cory Miller, Brendan Landwehr, Caleb Fenimore. SDSU: Alex Oberle, Erik DeJong (7), Trever Vermeulen (9), Kolton Emery (11) and Zach Briggs.
W-Emery (7-1). L-Ransbottom (4-3). Save-none.