The South Dakota State University baseball team saw its chances of qualifying for the Summit League postseason tournament further dwindle with an error-plagued 4-2 loss to Oakland Saturday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
Oakland improved to 19-26 overall and 10-3 in league play. In dropping the rain-delayed series opener, the Jackrabbits fell to 14-28-1 overall and 3-10 in league play.
Due to the weather, the series has been reduced to three games. The two teams are scheduled to wrap up the series Sunday with a doubleheader starting at noon.
For five innings Saturday's game was a pitchers dual between Oakland left-hander Jeff Gorecki and SDSU right-hander Stephen Bougher. Each pitcher worked out an early jam - Bougher stranded a pair of Oakland runners in the second and Gorecki kept SDSU off the board in the fifth inning by striking out the top two hitters in the Jackrabbit lineup with runners on second and third with one out.
The Golden Grizzlies broke through with a pair of runs in the sixth. After Mike Carson and Aaron Cieslak drew back-to-back one-out walks, Spencer Marentette singled to right field to score Carson. After another walk to John Estes loaded the bases, Bougher appeared to have prevented only minimal damage, but his throw home on a comebacker pulled catcher Nick Andrews off the base, allowing Cieslak to score.
Oakland extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the eighth, again taking advantage of a walk. Marentette drew a one-out walk against reliever Ty Walker, advanced to third on Estes' single to right field and scored when Estes was caught in a rundown.
The Jackrabbits put together a rally in the eighth, staring with a walk to Beau Hanowski and a base hit by Andrew Phelan. Aaron Machbitz reached on an error to load the bases before Eric Cain hit a sacrifice fly to score Hanowski. Daniel Marra followed with a single up the middle to score Phelan and knock out Gorecki. With the tying run on second, Zach Rhodes hit a ball to the hole that shortstop Kyle Bobolts smothered and then threw home to cut down pinch-runner Eric Danforth at the plate to end the inning.
OU tacked on an unearned run in the ninth inning on a failed pickoff attempt - the Jackrabbits' fifth error of the game.
SDSU put the tying run on base in the ninth, but Oakland reliever Russell Luxton got Phil Paquette to pop out to the catcher to end the game for his eighth save of the season.
Gorecki allowed two unearned runs in 7 2/3 innings of work, surrendering seven hits and one walk while striking out five.
Bougher struck out four, walked three and gave up six hits in seven innings of work as he lost his second consecutive decision.
Each team finished with nine hits. Jake Morton and Trent Drumheller tallied two hits apiece for Oakland, while Phelan, Marra and Rhodes each collected two for the Jackrabbits.
OAKLAND 4, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 2
OU 000 002 011 4-9-4
SDSU 000 000 020 2-9-5
OU: Jeff Gorecki, Russell Luxton (8) and Jake Morton. SDSU: Stephen Bougher, Ty Walker (8), J.D. Moore (9) and Nick Andrews.
W-Gorecki (4-5). L-Bougher (5-4). Save-Luxton (8).