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Jackrabbits settle for doubleheader split

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 02/22/2014 20:58:42

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Chad Hodges struck out a career-high eight batters as part of a complete-game four-hitter as South Dakota State salvaged a doubleheader split with a 2-1 victory over Alabama A&M in college baseball action Saturday afternoon.

Alabama A&M won the opener, 6-4, on a walk-off grand slam by Andrew Utterback. The Bulldogs ended the day with 3-6 overall record, while SDSU improved to 4-3.

In Game 2, the Jackrabbits took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-out rally. Paul Jacobson singled and scored on a double to center field by Jake Ratz.

Alabama A&M tied the game in the bottom of the third inning with an unearned run. Keyon Welch doubled with one out, stole third and scored on a Jackrabbit error.

SDSU pushed across what proved to be the winning run in the seven-inning contest in the top of the fourth inning. Al Robbins led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Zach Holt.

Hodges made the lead stand up as he improved to 2-0 on the season. The junior right-hander scattered three singles over the final four innings and walked only one.

A&M starter Devin Smith also turned in a complete-game effort, striking out six and walking one.

No player for either team had more than one hit.

In the opener, the Jackrabbits took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth with all-region closer on the mound, but Utterback ended the game with an opposite-field grand slam to right field to lift Alabama A&M to a 6-4 victory.

Jordan Benford started the rally with a leadoff single, which was followed by a walk to Julio Nunez and single by Patrick Dodson to load the bases. Moore struck out pinch-hitter Dylan Johnson for the second out of the inning, only to see Utterback provide the heroics with his second home run of the series.

SDSU scored in three consecutive innings to take a 3-1 lead through four innings. All three innings began with leadoff doubles – by Robbins in the second, Scott Splett in the third and Aaron Machbitz in the fourth. Robbins scored on a passed ball in the second and drove in Splett with a groundout in the third. Machbitz scored on a Bulldog error in the fourth.

Alabama A&M drew to within 3-2 in the sixth inning on a run-scoring single by Justin Folger. SDSU’s final run of the game came in the eighth as Robbins led off with a single and later scored on the back end of a double steal with Sam Pack.

Splett was 3-for-5 to lead SDSU’s seven-hit effort, with Robbins adding a pair of hits.

Jackrabbit starter Chris Anderson pitched the first six innings, allowing five hits, walking three and striking out three.

Bulldog reliever Taylor Knight was credited with the win after pitching a perfect ninth inning.

The two teams are scheduled to close out their four-game series Sunday with a noon contest.

Game 1: ALABAMA A&M 6, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 4
SDSU   011       100       010       4-7-0
AAM     001       001       004       6-9-2
SDSU: Chris Anderson, Talon Jumper (7), J.D. Moore (8) and Sam Pack. AAM: Ryan Ahrens, Derrick Winter (7), Taylor Knight (9) and Cal Waddell.
W-Knight. L-Moore (0-1). Save-none.
HR: AAM-Andrew Utterback.

Game 2: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 2, ALABAMA A&M 1
SDSU   100       100       0          2-6-2
AAM     001       000       0          1-4-0
SDSU: Chad Hodges and Reid Clary. AAM: Devin Smith and Dustin Dhanani.
W-Hodges (2-0). L-Smith. Save-none.
HR: none.

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