South Dakota State started fast and finished strong to defeat Sioux Falls, 11-7, in the Jackrabbit baseball team's official home opener Tuesday afternoon at Erv Huether Field.
With the victory the Jackrabbits exceeded their win total from a year ago in improving to 19-16 overall. USF dropped to 10-32 overall.
SDSU put together a five-run first inning, highlighted by a three-run home run by Josh Falk and run-scoring single by Gus Steiger. Falk's homer was his third in his last five games and team-leading eighth of the season. The fifth and final run of the frame scored on the second Cougar error of the inning.
The Jackrabbits added a run in the bottom of the second as Nick Smith tripled to center field and scored on a groundout by Steiger.
USF scored the next six runs to tie the game. The Cougars got on the board against SDSU starter Korey Kuhlmann with a run in the third as Trey Hubers led off with a single, stole second and scored on Grant Lung's two-out single to left field.
The Cougars tallied five runs in the sixth inning, roughing up the SDSU bullpen. Josh Rehwaldt started the rally with a leadoff home run, with Sam Michels and Connor King adding run-scoring singles. The last two runs scored on the lone Jackrabbit error of the game.
SDSU regained the lead with a three-run home half of the sixth. After being blanked for two innings by John Berroth, the game-winning rally began with back-to-back singles by Matthew Krambeck and Landon Badger. After both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Drew Beazley, Krambeck scored the go-ahead run on an infield single by Smith. Badger later scored on a balk and Smith scampered home on a wild pitch to close out the rally.
Rehwaldt connected on his second solo home run in the seventh for USF, but the Jackrabbits ended any hopes of another Cougar comeback as they capitalized on two more errors in the bottom of the inning for a pair of runs. USF committed a total of six errors in the contest.
Alex Marro was credited with the win after allowing one run over two innings of relief. He struck out two and walked one. Kuhlmann also struck out a pair and surrendered four hits in his three-inning start.
Smith and Krambeck each went 3-for-4 for the Jackrabbits as hits were even at 13 per team. Steiger and Falk each posted a pair of hits, with Steiger extending his streak of reaching base safely to 30 games.
King and Rehwaldt tallied three hits apiece for USF.
The Jackrabbits return to Summit League action, opening a three-game series Friday at league-leading Omaha. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at J.J. Isaacson Field, located at Seymour Smith Park.
• SDSU leads the all-time series, 17-4
• Tuesday's game marked the first meeting between the two squads since 2012
• The Jackrabbits scored 11 runs for the third time in the last four games and recorded double figures in scoring for the seventh time
• Smith recorded the final out of the game with a diving catch in the left-center gap
• Krambeck notched his first multi-hit game as a Jackrabbit
• Steiger moved into a tie with Luke Ira for the team lead with 14 multi-hit games this season
• SDSU has outscored the opposition, 22-14, in the first inning this season