Jackrabbit baseball survives in 13 innings to win in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. – South Dakota State scored three times in the top of the 13th inning to finally put away Summit League-leading Omaha, 6-4, for a baseball series-clinching victory Sunday afternoon at Seymour Smith Park.

In claiming the series two games to one, the Jackrabbits improved to 21-17 overall and 13-8 in league play. Omaha dropped to 25-12-1 overall and 17-4 in The Summit League.

The Jackrabbits put together the decisive rally in the 13th after Omaha came back twice – first to send the game to extra innings and then to further extend the game. With one out and the game tied at 3-all, Nick Smith and Braeden Brown recorded back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners for the Jackrabbits. Smith scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw, while Gus Steiger and reserve outfielder Colton Cox followed with run-scoring singles to plate Brown and Jamie Berg, respectively.

Omaha scored an unearned run of its own in the bottom of the 13th, but Austin Suhr, the sixth pitcher of the game for SDSU, induced a double-play grounder to end the game. Suhr pitched the final 1 2/3 innings in improving to 2-0 on the season.

Freshman Nic McCay turned in a strong starting performance for the Jackrabbits, limiting Omaha to one hit over seven innings. The Carlisle, Iowa, native matched his career high with 11 strikeouts while walking three over seven shutout innings.

SDSU led 2-0 after scoring a pair of runs on only one hit in the third inning. With two outs, Smith walked and Brown singled before three wild pitches allowed both runners to score.

Omaha got to the Jackrabbit bullpen in the eighth to tie the game at 2-all on Brett Bonar's two-run double that scored both Jack Lombardi and Matt Bondarchuk.

The Jackrabbits regained the lead in the top of the 12th as Steiger singled and scored on an error, while Omaha countered with an RBI double by Keil Krumwiede.

Brown and Steiger each tallied three of the Jackrabbits' 11 hits. Four different players notched two of Omaha's 10 hits.

The two teams combined for 35 strikeouts – 19 by Omaha and a season-high 16 by the Jackrabbits. Maverick reliever Cal Hehnke fanned nine batters in five innings of work.

Omaha claimed the regular season series, 4-2, although SDSU won the final two games
The Jackrabbits scored first in all three games of the series
SDSU improved to 2-2 in extra-inning games this season
The Jackrabbits have an 8-8 record in games of 12 or more innings in the Division I era (since 2005)
McCay recorded double figures in strikeouts for the third time this season as he regained the team lead in strikeouts with 71
SDSU starting pitchers have pitched five or more innings in 18 of 21 Summit League games this season
Jackrabbit pitchers combined for 16-plus scoreless innings before Omaha scored in the eighth inning
Steiger has reached base safely in 33 consecutive games, marking the fifth-longest streak in the Division I era of Jackrabbit baseball
Steiger recorded his team-best 16th multi-hit game of the season
Smith drew his 100th career base on balls, tying him with Ryan Krogman (1990-93) for seventh place on the all-time SDSU charts
Both of Suhr's wins this season have come in extra-inning games played in Omaha (April 14 vs. North Dakota State was the other)
SDSU has won six of seven Summit League series in 2019