Western Illinois struck for seven runs in the final three innings, defeating South Dakota State, 11-7, in an error-filled Summit League baseball finale for both teams Saturday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
With the win, the Fighting Leathernecks improved to 17-35-1 overall and 7-17 in league play. The Jackrabbits ended their season 18-33-1 overall and 7-14 in The Summit League.
The day started out well for the Jackrabbits, who put up a four-spot in the bottom of the first inning. Beau Hanowski and Andrew Phelan hit back-to-back singles and Aaron Machbitz reached on a one-out error that allowed Hanowski to score the first run of the game. Eric Cain followed with a run-scoring single and Phil Paquette added a run-scoring double to right field. Daniel Telford's groundout scored Machbitz with the final run of the game.
SDSU's defensive woes reared their ugly head in the second inning as Jackrabbit infielders committed four errors, allowing the Fighting Leathernecks to knot the game at 4-all.
The Jackrabbits regained the lead in bottom of the second as Hanowski scored his second run of the day on a base hit by Machbitz that knocked out WIU starter Nick Smith after recording only five outs. SDSU tacked on an unearned run in the fifth.
Adam Bray settled into a groove, holding Western Illinois scoreless until the seventh, when he allowed an opposite-field solo home run by Ryan Cowhey cut the margin to 6-5.
SDSU added another unearned run in the home half of the second thanks to two Western Illinois errors, but the Jackrabbit bullpen couldn't maintain the lead. A walk and five straight hits by the Fighting Leathernecks, helped along by SDSU's sixth and seventh errors of the game, led to four runs. Dan Dispensa's two-run single in the top of the ninth provided the final margin.
Dispensa and Cowhey each tallied three of WIU's 12 hits. Hanowski and Machbitz each went 3-for-5 to lead SDSU's 11-hit output.
Alexander Zarate allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings of relief to earn the victory for Western Illinois. He allowed four hits and struck out one.
Bray allowed five hits and only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking one in a no-decision effort. Austin Busse took the loss after allowing the final six runs of the game.
The two teams combined to commit 12 errors - seven by the Jackrabbits and five by Western Illinois.
WESTERN ILLINOIS 11, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 7
WIU 040 000 142 11-12-5
SDSU 410 010 100 7-11-7
WIU: Nick Smith, Alexander Zarate (2), Chris Macek (9), Gabe Long (9) and Mark Garton. SDSU: Adam Bray, Deon Entringer (7), Austin Busse (8) and Zach Briggs.
W-Zarate (2-3). L-Busse (2-6). Save-none.
HR: WIU-Ryan Cowhey (2).