SIOUX FALLS – Tyler Olmstead recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and Nick Smith supplied the offense with four hits and a career-high five runs batted in to lead South Dakota State to an 11-3, series-opening win over Western Illinois in Summit League baseball action Friday afternoon at Sioux Falls Stadium.
With the win to open the second half of the Summit League schedule, the Jackrabbits improved to 17-15 overall and 10-6 in league play.
Western Illinois, which had its six-game conference winning streak snapped, dropped to 14-21 overall and 8-8 in the Summit.
The Leathernecks scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Alex Dorethy doubled and scored two batters later on a double to left-center by Steve McShane that put runners at second and third with no outs.
However, Olmstead came back to strike out the next three hitters to extinguish the rally.
SDSU responded in the home half of the second, despite having two runners picked off base.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Logan Holtz and Braeden Brown set the table for Landon Badger, who lined a Jace Warkentien offering to the left-center gap to score both runners.
It would be a lead the Jackrabbits would not relinquish as Olmstead retired eight men in a row between the third and fifth innings, while SDSU added to its lead.
Smith delivered run-scoring singles in both the third and fifth innings, and later scored on a base hit by Josh Falk in the fifth that pushed the Jackrabbit advantage to 5-1.
Olmstead surrendered a run in the seventh after issuing his lone free pass of the game – hitting Deion Thompson with a pitch.
Thompson came around to score on Kevin Raisbeck’s single to center field later in the frame.
SDSU again answered, scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run double by Gus Steiger and sacrifice fly by Holtz.
After Western touched Jackrabbit reliever Bret Barnett for a run in the eighth, Smith capped the scoring by lining a pitch just inside the left-field foul pole for an opposite-field three-run home run. It was his first round-tripper of the season and second of his career.
Smith was 4-for-5, while Derek Hackman added a pair of hits to pace the Jackrabbits’ 11-hit attack.
Alex Dorethy notched a pair of doubles, while Drue Galassi and C.J. Schaeffer Jr. also posted two of the Leathernecks’ 10 hits.
NOTES – SDSU leads the all-time series, 35-24, and the season series, 3-1. ... The Jackrabbits improved to 4-2 in Summit League series-opening games this season. ... Olmstead’s previous high for strikeouts was 10, at Omaha, on March 31, 2018. ... Olmstead tied Nic McCay (11 strikeouts March 31 vs. Fort Wayne) for the most K’s by a Jackrabbit in 2019. ... Olmstead struck out at least one batter in each of the first six innings. ... Barnett added three strikeouts to give SDSU a season-high total of 14 strikeouts for the third time this season. ... Jackrabbit pitchers did not issue a base on balls for the first time in a game since Feb. 18, 2017, versus Chicago State. ... Steiger reached base safely for the 27th game in a row. ... Steiger’s double was his team-leading 10th of the season and later added his team-best 12th stolen base. ... Smith became the third Jackrabbit player with a four-hit game this season, joining Steiger (twice) and Braeden Brown. ... Smith became the 10th different Jackrabbit player to hit a home run in 2019.
The two teams are slated to play a noon doubleheader Saturday at Sioux Falls Stadium to complete the three-game series.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 11, WESTERN ILLINOIS 3
Western Illinois 010 000 110 – 3 10 4
South Dakota State 021 020 33x – 11 11 0
Jace Warkentien, Jordan Cheek (7) and CJ Schaeffer; Tyler Olmstead, Bret Barnett (8) and Derek Hackman. W – Olmstead (3-2). L – Warkentien (2-4). 2B: WIU, Drue Galassi, Alex Dorethy, Steve McShane; SDSU, Gus Steiger. 3B: SDSU, Landon Badger. HR: SDSU, Nick Smith.