Five South Dakota State pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout and the offense set a season high for runs Friday afternoon as the Jackrabbits opened the home baseball season with a 19-0 drubbing of North Dakota State at Erv Huether Field.
SDSU upped its overall record to 6-22, improving to 2-6 in Summit League action. The Bison fell to 9-17 overall, 3-5 in league play.
The Jackrabbits scored the first run of the game without the benefit of a hit in the first inning. A dropped fly ball and three walks, including one to Billy Stitz with the bases loaded, led to the first run. SDSU would tack on three more runs in the frame as Eric Cain plated two runs with the team’s only hit of the inning, and Stitz scored the final run by stealing home on the back end of a double steal.
SDSU took advantage of another Bison error in the fourth inning to put a five-spot on the board and put the game out of reach. With the bases loaded, Scott Hood hit a ground ball to shortstop that was thrown away, allowing two runs to score. Joel Blake followed with a run-scoring double and John Lee cleared the bases with a triple that scored Hood and Blake.
The fourth inning marked the first of five consecutive innings in which the Jackrabbits scored. Blake hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to make the score 12-0, and Zach Briggs capped the scoring with an eighth inning grand slam. Briggs’ blast also was his first home run in a Jackrabbit uniform.
Five different Jackrabbits tallied two of SDSU’s 15 hits. Cain, who entered the day with only one run batted in so far this season, drove in three runs with a pair of hits, with Briggs adding five RBI on his two hits. Lee also drove in three runs as he notched two hits, while Blake and Billy Stitz each contributed two hits and scored three times.
Sam Pieczynski, who was working with a pre-determined pitch count, pitched the first three innings to record his first career victory. He struck out a pair of batters and surrendered three hits.
NDSU threatened to score in the fourth inning against Jackrabbit reliever Mike Robinson, putting runners at second and third with one out. However, Robinson retired the next two Bison hitters on a shallow outfield fly and groundout to work out of the jam.
As a staff, Jackrabbit pitchers struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Meanwhile, Bison starter Josh Smith issued five free passes in taking the loss. The right-hander gave up nine runs — four earned — and also surrendered five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Andrew Stitt had two of NDSU’s three hits.
The two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch is set for noon.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 19, NORTH DAKOTA STATE 0
NDSU 000 000 000 0-5-2
SDSU 400 521 34X 19-15-2
NDSU: Josh Smith, Alex Chaput (4), Ryan Williams (6), Josh Greene (7) and Justin Kline, Anthony Fontana (7). SDSU: Sam Pieczynski, Mike Robinson (4), Blaine Alberta (6), Trever Vermeulen (8), Matt Spinar (9) and Tony Martin, Zach Briggs (8).
W-Pieczynski (2-0). L-Smith (1-6).
HR: SDSU-Joel Blake (3), Zach Briggs (1).