FORT WAYNE, Ind. - South Dakota State spotted IPFW a 4-0 lead through three innings, but the Jackrabbits roared back to post a 20-7 victory in the Summit League baseball opener for both teams Friday afternoon.
SDSU upped its overall mark to 14-9 behind a five-hit effort at the plate by freshman second baseman Andrew Melton. The ninth-place hitter in the Jackrabbit lineup, Melton hit his first career home run and added a double, while driving in five runs and scoring four times.
IPFW scored in each of the first three innings to take its early lead. A.J. Christensen plated the Mastodons' first-inning run with a base hit and Kurt Dudley homered to lead off the second inning. Christensen and Shaun VanDriessche hit back-to-back run-scoring doubles for IPFW's two runs in the third.
The Jackrabbits took their first lead of the day with a five-run fourth inning. Five consecutive batters reached with two outs, highlighted by a two-run single by Daniel Telford and Melton's two-run double. Billy Stitz later drove in Melton with a base hit.
The Mastodons knotted the game at 5-all in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI groundout, but SDSU gained the lead for good in the sixth on Melton's opposite-field home run. The Jackrabbits then sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh, scoring six times on seven hits. Stitz doubled in two runs en route to a four-hit, four-RBI game.
SDSU tacked on six more runs in the eighth. Jesse Sawyer scored the first run of the frame on a wild pitch, which was followed by a two-run single by Melton. Stitz and Joel Blake added run-scoring doubles.
Telford drove in his fourth run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, and the Jackrabbits' final run of the game scored on an error.
Jackrabbit starter Sam Piecznyski pitched eight innings in picking up his third victory of the season. The senior right-hander struck out a career-high six batters and walked two, while allowing 12 hits.
The two teams are slated to play a doubleheader Saturday, starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
NOTES: The Jackrabbits improved to 14-3 all-time against IPFW ... SDSU tallied 20 runs for the third time this season and double figures for runs scored for the ninth time ... the Jackrabbits notched 20 hits in a game for the fourth time in 2010 ... Melton became the third different SDSU player to record a five-hit game this season ... SDSU batters struck out only once in Friday's game ... every player in the Jackrabbit starting lineup notched at least one hit ... the only SDSU hitters to not tally an RBI in Friday's game were their top two run producers on the season - Eric Cain (34 RBI) and Jesse Sawyer (31 RBI) ... Beau Hanowski extended his hitting streak to 10 games
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 20, IPFW 7
SDSU 000 501 662 20-21-1
IPFW 112 010 101 7-14-2
SDSU: Sam Pieczynski, Austin Busse (9) and Zach Briggs, Nick Andrews (9). IPFW: Nick Opitz, Ryan Jacobson (7), Scott Micinski (8), Craig Martin (9), Cory Bluhm (9) and Cory Miller.
W-Pieczynski (3-1). L-Opitz (1-2). SV-none.
HR: SDSU-Andrew Melton (1); IPFW-Shaun VanDriessche (8), Kurt Dudley (5).