CEDAR CITY, Utah - South Dakota State and Southern Utah traded 8-7 victories in splitting a Summit League baseball doubleheader Friday afternoon.
In winning the opener, the Jackrabbits moved to 15-31-1 on the season, including a 4-12 mark in league play. SUU moved to 17-30 overall and 11-7 in The Summit League.
After spotting the Thunderbirds a 3-0 lead through two innings, SDSU gained the lead with a four-run third inning. Eric Cain singled in Zach Rhodes with the first run and Daniel Marra followed with a double that scored Phil Paquette. Cain tied the game by scoring on a passed ball before Marra scored on a squeeze bunt by Zach Briggs.
SUU knotted the game at 4-all in home half of the third before the Jackrabbits took the lead for good with a two-run fourth inning capped by an RBI single by Aaron Machbitz.
Jackrabbit starter Stephen Bougher settled down, holding SUU off the board in the middle three innings. Marcus Romero's fourth hit of the game, a run-scoring triple in the seventh, cut the deficit to 6-5.
Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Paquette and Cain pushed the SDSU lead to 8-5 in the top of the eighth, but SUU drew back to within a run in the home half of the eighth on a solo home run by Kevin Kline and a sacrifice fly by David Headley.
Jackrabbit reliever Austin Busse secured his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Rhodes and Machbitz each tallied two hits for the Jackrabbits, who were out-hit 12-8. Romero was 4-for-5 and drove in three runs, while Bo Cuthbertson and D.J. Andrade posted two hits apiece.
In the nitecap, Southern Utah scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to overcome an early 5-0 deficit and salvage the split with an 8-7 victory of their own.
SDSU sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning, which featured a run-scoring double by Paquette, an RBI triple by Cain and a two-run home run by Marra as the Jackrabbits hit for the cycle in the inning. Marra's second home run of the season was the first by a Jackrabbit player in league play.
The Thunderbirds stormed back to take a 6-5 lead with three runs in the second inning and three more in the third. Kline homered for the third consecutive game in the series, hitting a two-run shot in the second inning and adding a two-run double against Jackrabbit starter Kolton Emery an inning later.
After Southern Utah scored again in the fourth to go up 7-5, the Jackrabbits drew to within a run on doubles by Nick Andrews and Beau Hanowski. SDSU then sent the game to extra innings as Marra delivered a two-out single to score pinch-runner Eric Danforth in the top of the seventh.
SDSU stranded two runners in both the eighth and ninth innings before the Thunderbirds put together the game-winning rally in the home half of the ninth. Romero led off with an infield single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error before scoring on a base hit by Chaisson Low.
Andrews was 3-for-5 to pace the Jackrabbits' 13-hit output. SUU posted 15 hits in the game, with Romero, Kline and David Headley each tallying three hits.
The two squads complete their four-game series Saturday afternoon.
Game 1: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 8, SOUTHERN UTAH 7
SDSU 004 200 020 8-8-1
SUU 211 000 120 7-12-4
SDSU: Stephen Bougher, Austin Busse (8) and Zach Briggs. SUU: Kelsey Outram, Jesse Hartle (5) and Taggart Lunceford.
W-Bougher (6-4). L-Outram (3-8). Save-Busse (2).
HR: SUU-Kevin Kline (2).
Game 2: SOUTHERN UTAH 8, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 7 (9 inn.)
SDSU 500 001 100 7-13-2
SUU 033 100 001 8-15-1
SDSU: Kolton Emery, Talon Jumper (4), Shane Kraemer (5), Austin Busse (7) and Nick Andrews, Steven Autenrieth (7). SUU: Justin Neubauer, Kolby Rimer (7) and Jordan Zymola.
W-Rimer (1-2). L-Busse (2-5). Save-none.
HR: SUU-Kevin Kline (3); SDSU Daniel Marra (2).