CHICAGO — Zach Coppola plated the go-ahead run with a single in the top of the eighth inning, lifting South Dakota State to a 2-1 victory over Chicago State (Ill.) and a doubleheader split in college baseball action Friday afternoon at Cougar Stadium.
Chicago State opened the day with a 2-1, 14-inning victory in moving to 9-9 on the season. The Jackrabbits ended the day 10-11 overall.
A sophomore outfielder from Windsor Heights, Iowa, Coppola drove in both Jackrabbit runs in Game 2. He put the Jackrabbits on the board in the second inning with an opposite-field single that scored Tyler Shannon. Shannon led off the inning with a walked and advanced to both second and third base on wild pitches.
CSU scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the third inning on a Jackrabbit throwing error.
Jackrabbit starter Chad Hodges kept the Cougars off the board through the rest of his seven-inning stint. The right-hander struck out five, walked two and scattered five hits in improving to 3-2 on the season.
Joe Erickson pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief before giving way to J.D. Moore, who recorded the final out for his third save of the season.
Andrew Wellwerts struck out six and walked one in a losing effort on the mound for Chicago State.
Scott Splett led SDSU’s 11-hit effort by going 3-for-4. Coppola and Jake Ratz each notched two hits.
In the opener, Sanford Hunt singled home the winning run for Chicago State in the bottom of the 14th inning. The rally began with a leadoff walk to Matt Schmidt issued by reliever Tyler Shannon. Schmidt moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on Hunt’s second of the game, which came against Moore.
Chicago State broke a scoreless deadlock with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning against Jackrabbit starter Adam Bray. Julian Russell led off the frame with a base hit and came around to score on a single to right field by Evan Davis.
Cougar starter Ean McNeal took a shutout into the ninth and retired the first two batters he faced. Ratz then walked, setting the stage for Al Robbins to deliver a game-tying triple to center field that scored pinch runner Zach Holt.
Each team failed to cash in on scoring opportunities in the first few extra innings. SDSU loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th, but failed to score. Reid Clary led off with a walk and advanced to second and later third on respective one-out singles by Michael Finocchiaro and Splett. Clary was retired on a force play at home on a grounder to first base by Coppola, and Jordan Varga also grounded out to first to end the inning.
CSU appeared on the verge of winning the game in the bottom of the 12th, loading the bases with nobody out on a pair of walks and a base hit by Hunt. However, Shannon pitched out of the jam by inducing an infield popup and pair of strikeouts.
The Jackrabbits came right back to threaten in the top of the 13th, but also came up empty as Holt was thrown out at home on a single to left field by Aaron Machbitz.
Bray struck out five, walked two and scattered seven hits in nine innings. Andrew Clemen added a strikeout in two shutout innings of relief.
McNeal pitched the first 10 innings for Chicago State, recording five strikeouts to go along with three walks and eight hits allowed. Jerry Silva earned the victory after pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Five different Jackrabbit players recorded two hits as SDSU finished the game with 12 hits. SDSU stranded 14 runners, while the Cougars left 11 men on base.