College Baseball

Jackrabbits win final two games of opening series

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The South Dakota State baseball team opened its season with a four-game split with New Mexico State over the weekend.

The Jackrabbits lost to the Aggies on Friday and Saturday but then bounced back with wins on Sunday and Monday to earn the split. NMSU won its games by scores of 8-6 and 13-9. The Jacks picked up victories of 8-5 and 11-10.

SDSU will head back to the state of New Mexico next weekend as the Jackrabbits will play a three-game series against the New Mexico Lobos. The first game is on Friday and is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Central time.

Sunday

SDSU 8, NMSU 5

Dawson Parry capped a five-run top of the ninth inning with a grand slam, lifting South Dakota State to an 8-5 victory over New Mexico State Sunday afternoon at Presley Askew Field.

The Jackrabbits picked up their first win of the season, improving to 1-2 on the season. NMSU dropped to 2-1.

All four runs to score on Parry’s grand slam were unearned as an Aggie error opened the door for the Jackrabbit rally to continue. Trailing 5-3, freshman Bryce Ronken singled with one out and moved to second base on a single by Jess Bellows. Davis Carr then stepped to the plate and hit a ground ball to second base. The ensuing throw to second base for a force out and potential game-ending double play was off the mark, allowing the Jackrabbits to load the bases.

A walk issued to another freshman, Cohen Henry, forced in a run to make the score 5-4. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Parry stepped to the plate and drove the first pitch he saw well over the fence in left-center field for his second home run of the game and third of the season.

Parry opened the scoring with a solo homer in the bottom of the first and Cael Frost drew the Jackrabbits even at 2-all with a solo shot in the fourth. SDSU tied the game at 3-all in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Jess Bellows that plated Luke Luskey.

Four Jackrabbit pitchers combined to allow only one hit, but the Aggies capitalized in other ways at the plate to put five runs on the board. A Jackrabbit throwing error after a pair of walks allowed the Aggies to score twice in the bottom of the first inning.

Nick Gore tallied New Mexico State’s lone hit, an RBI single in the home half of the fourth that plated Steve Solorzano, who led off the inning being hit by a pitch.

NMSU grabbed a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth after Jackrabbit closer Alex Clemons issued five walks and a wild pitch. However, Clemons, pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to finish off the comeback victory.

Will Kent worked the first 3 2/3 innings, striking out a career-high six and walking four. Sam Schlecht pitched the next 1 1/3 innings and Owen Bishop followed with two scoreless innings.

Parry, Frost and Bellows each collected two of the Jackrabbits’ seven hits.

Monday

SDSU 11, NMSU 10

South Dakota State took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and held off New Mexico State, 11-10, Monday at Presley Askew Field to earn a split of the squads’ season-opening four-game baseball series.

The Jackrabbits never trailed in the contest, although NMSU tied the game on four different occasions. With the game tied at 8-all entering the top of the eighth, Luke Luskey started the two-run rally with a one-out walk. Reigning Summit League Peak Player of the Week Dawson Parry followed by drawing the fourth of his single-game school-record five walks, and Cael Frost came through with a single up the middle to bring home pinch runner Cohen Henry.

Parry would score the second run of the inning moments later on an RBI groundout by Cade Stuff.

After the Aggies scored on a sacrifice fly in the home half of the eighth to cut the deficit to 10-9, SDSU added a much-needed insurance run in the top of the ninth as Thatcher Kozal doubled with one out and came around to score on a single by Jordan Sagedahl, who had entered the game the previous inning as a defensive replacement.

Once again, New Mexico State put together a rally in its last at-bat, scoring an unearned run after a leadoff single by Keith Jones II. However, SDSU pitcher Dylan Driessen prevented further damage to finish off his 4 1/3 innings of relief with a flyout to right.

Driessen, who tied for the team lead in victories last season with five, picked up the win after allowing three runs — one earned — on three hits. The right-hander from Omaha struck out five and walked seven.

The Jackrabbits grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Bryce Ronken singled and later scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Adam Benes.

SDSU hung five runs on the board in its trip to the plate in the second inning to take a 6-1 lead. Davis Carr accounted for the first three runs with his second home run of the series and Cael Frost added a two-run double later in the frame

NMSU would come back to tie the game at 6-all with a three-run second inning, followed by a two-run fourth against Jackrabbit starter Jack Kruger. Nick Gore hit a two-run home run for the Aggies in the second inning, while Preston Godfrey notched a two-run double in the fourth.

The Jackrabbits would regain momentary one-run leads in the fifth and sixth innings. Jess Bellows continued his hot start to the season with a single to plate the fifth-inning run. Parry doubled home Ronken with the sixth-inning run in his only official at-bat of the game.

Kruger surrendered seven runs on 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.