FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State's Bennett Hostetler doubled in what proved to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the Bison to a 3-2 series-opening victory over South Dakota State in Summit League baseball action Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field.
With the win, NDSU moved a game ahead of Western Illinois for the fourth and final berth in next week's Summit League Baseball Championship with a 19-22 overall mark and 15-13 league record. Coupled with league-leading Omaha's victory over Oral Roberts earlier in the day, the Jackrabbits had their chances of winning the regular season title come to an end although they still locked up the No. 2 seed. SDSU fell to 25-20 overall and 17-10 in league play.
The Jackrabbits scored first, breaking a scoreless deadlock with a run in the top of the fourth inning. Gus Steiger led off the frame with a single, stole second and scored on Logan Holtz's two-out single to right center.
NDSU answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of the first base on balls issued on the night by Jackrabbit starter Tyler Olmstead. Tucker Rohde drew the one-out walk, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Jake Malec.
SDSU regained a momentary 2-1 lead in the sixth, when Josh Falk walked against Bison starter Max Loven and came around to score on Matthew Krambeck's two-out double down the left-field line.
Peter Brookshaw led off the NDSU home half of the sixth with a triple to right-center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brock Anderson, knotting the game at 2-all.
The game-winning rally for the Bison in the seventh came against the SDSU bullpen. Charley Hesse walked with one out, advanced to second on a groundout and scored when Hostetler doubled to left-center against reliever Alex Marro.
Hesse secured the NDSU victory with his defense in the ninth, ending the game by taking away a potential extra-base hit off the bat of pinch-hitter Luke Ira with the tying run at second base.
Loven struck out nine, walked three and scattered five hits over seven innings en route to the victory. Jordan Harms pitched two hitless innings with a pair of strikeouts and a walk to pick up the save.
Olmstead finished with a no-decision despite striking out seven over six innings. He walked two and allowed only three hits.
Holtz collected two hits for SDSU, while Malec tallied a pair of hits for the Bison as each team ended up with five hits in the contest.
Due to inclement weather in the forecast, the three-game series is now scheduled to conclude today with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 3, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 2
SDSU 000 101 000 – 2 5 1
NDSU 000 011 10x – 3 5 1
Tyler Olmstead, Alex Marro (7), Brady Stover (7), Brett Mogen (8) and Derek Hackman; Max Loven, Jordan Harms (8) and Sean Noel. W – Loven (4-2). L – Marro (1-1). Sv – Harms (3). 2B: SDSU, Matthew Krambeck; NDSU, Bennett Hostetler. 3B: NDSU, Peter Brookshaw.