Bishop wins 600th as Jacks earn series split

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Freshman Nic McCay pitched into the eighth inning to help lead South Dakota State to an 8-6 victory over UA Little Rock Sunday afternoon at Gary Hogan Field, giving Jackrabbit head coach Rob Bishop his 600th career collegiate coaching victory.

The Jackrabbits improved to 7-8 overall, while UA Little Rock fell to 4-12.

SDSU never trailed in the contest although it had to survive some anxious moments in the ninth inning to salvage a split of the four-game series and wrap up its week-long Spring Break trip with a 4-4 mark.

The Jackrabbits tallied a run in the top of the first without a hit. Gus Steiger and Braeden Brown each drew walks before Steiger advanced on a wild pitch and scored when the throw to third base was errant.

The SDSU lead grew to 5-0 with a pair of runs in both the fourth and sixth innings. A groundout by Luke Ira and single by Steiger plated the fourth-inning runs, while Steiger and Brown delivered back-to-back sacrifice flies in the sixth.

McCay carried a shutout into the home half of the sixth and retired eight men in a row before allowing a two-run home run to Ryan Benavidez. It was Benavidez’s second home run of the series.

The Jackrabbits pushed their lead to 8-2 with a three-run top of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run single by Derek Hackman and RBI double by Ira. Hackman and Ira each notched two hits to pace SDSU’s 10-hit attack, with Ira’s other hit a triple.

UA Little Rock wouldn’t go down without a fight as the Trojans batted around in the bottom of the ninth, scoring four times. Christian Reyes’ third hit of the game drove in one run against the Jackrabbit bullpen, with Chase Coker adding a sacrifice fly. Garrett Scott was hit by a pitch to force in the third run of the inning to close the gap to 8-5.

Bret Barnett, the third SDSU pitcher of the inning, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch before inducing the final out on an outfield foulout to end the game.

McCay earned his second victory of the season, striking out six and walking only one in 7 2/3 innings.

NOTES – UA Little Rock leads the all-time series, 4-2, dating back to 2012. ... McCay’s outing was the longest by a Jackrabbit pitcher this season. ... Logan Holtz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the eighth inning. ... Holtz has reached base safely in all 14 games he has played this season. ... Steiger has hit safely in seven consecutive games and reached base in 10 in a row. ... Ira moved into a tie with Steiger for the team lead in multi-hit games with eight. ... SDSU batters drew a season-high nine walks. ... Bishop has a 51-64 record in three seasons at SDSU after stops at Huron University (38-18 in one season), Miles City Community College (377-151 in 10 seasons) and Montana State Billings (134-153-1 in six seasons).


The Jackrabbits open Summit League play Friday at Western Illinois. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium in Macomb, Ill.

Saturday’s Games

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – South Dakota State and UA Little Rock traded big eighth innings in splitting a college baseball doubleheader Saturday at Gary Hogan Field. The visiting Jackrabbits rallied for a 9-4 victory in the opener, while UA Little Rock pulled away for a 10-3 win in Game 2.

Game 1: South Dakota State 9, UA Little Rock 4

The Jackrabbits sent 11 men to the plate in the top of the eighth against the Trojan bullpen and scored six times to take their first victory of the four-game series.

Trailing 3-2, Logan Holtz began the rally with a leadoff single and later scored the tying run on a base hit by Braeden Brown. Landon Badger and Josh Falk followed with back-to-back RBI doubles, with Luke Ira and Gus Steiger each contributing run-scoring singles. The final run of the inning scored on an error.

Jackrabbit starter Ryan Froom pitched seven strong innings to earn his second win of the season. He struck out five, walked four and scattered seven hits.

UA Little Rock starter Jose Torres held SDSU in check during his seven innings of work, allowing only a pair of runs in the third inning, when Holtz tripled in a pair after Steiger doubled and Nick Smith walked.

The Trojans tied the game at 2-all with a run in the home half of the third and took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a leadoff home run by Riley Pittman. Ryan Benavidez, who was 3-for-4, added a solo home run with two outs in the ninth for the Trojans’ final run of the game.

SDSU held a 16-8 advantage in hits, with Holtz and Badger each tallying three.

Game 2: UA Little Rock 10, South Dakota State 3

The Trojans grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second innings on solo home runs by Pittman and James Gann, then put the game out of reach with a five-run eighth inning in securing the doubleheader split.

SDSU had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a two-out RBI single by Matthew Krambeck, but UA Little Rock scored the next four off Jackrabbit starter Korey Kuhlmann and didn’t look back. Benavidez plated a third-inning run with a single to left center and Christian Reyes added a run-scoring single in the fourth.

The Jackrabbits pulled to within a run at 4-3 in the top of the fifth as Steiger scampered home on a wild pitch and Krambeck was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run.

Benavidez fueled the UA Little Rock outburst in the eighth with an RBI double and Gann added a two-run single later in the frame.

Gann and Chase Coker each were 3-for-5 to pace the Trojans’ 16-hit attack. Steiger was the lone Jackrabbit with more than one hit, collecting a pair of hits in five trips.

UA Little Rock reliever McKinley Moore struck out six batters over the final 3 1/3 shutout innings to pick up the save.

NOTES – Badger doubled twice in Game 1, upping his team-leading total to six. ... Steiger extended his hitting streak to six games and has posted a team-best eight multi-hit games in 2019. ... The Jackrabbits have not hit a home run in their last eight games.

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