EUGENE, Ore. – San Francisco pushed an unearned run across in the top of the 13th inning, ending the South Dakota State baseball team’s season with a 4-3 victory in an elimination game Saturday at the Eugene Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
San Francisco, which improved to 35-23 overall, will face the loser of Saturday’s late game between host Oregon and Rice (Texas) at noon Pacific Time in another elimination game. The Jackrabbits, who played their first extra-innings game of the year, ended their season with a 35-24 record.
Bradley Zimmer started the game-winning rally for San Francisco by reaching on an error. After Zimmer stole second base, Jackrabbit reliever Shane Kraemer walked the next two batters to load the bases. Chad Hodges came into pitch for SDSU, giving up a sacrifice fly to Bob Cruikshank before inducing a double-play grounder to end the inning.
SDSU threatened to again tie the game in the home half of the 13th as Daniel Marra recorded his third hit of the game – a one-out single – and moved to second on a groundout. However, Reid Clary grounded out to second base to end the game.
The Dons grabbed an early lead with a two-run second. Cruikshank singled to lead off the frame against Jackrabbit starter Stephen Bougher, and later scored on a squeeze bunt by Josh Miller. Mitchell Rowan scored the other run of the inning on a base hit by Ryan Matranga.
The Jackrabbits answered with a run in the home half of the second. Paul Jacobson doubled with one out, moved to third base on a single by Marra and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Machbitz.
After failing to score with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, the Jackrabbits were able to knot the game at 2-all with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Clary led off with a single and scored on Scott Splett’s two-out single through the left side.
SDSU closer J.D. Moore worked out of a jam with a pair of strikeouts in the USF ninth, but allowed a run in the 10th on a run-scoring single by Bradley Zimmer.
Once again, SDSU battled back to tie the game, taking advantage of two San Francisco errors, the last of which was a throwing error on a potential double play grounder that allowed Al Robbins to score and knot the game at 3-all.
Daniel Marra recorded his third hit of the game, a single to center field, with one out in the bottom of the 13th.
Bougher struck out two, walked one and scattered seven hits in his final start as a Jackrabbit. Moore recorded his longest outing of the season at 3 2/3 innings, striking out five.
USF starter Christian Cecilio struck out three and did not issue a walk in five innings. Bob Mott earned the victory after throwing 3 2/3 innings in relief before giving way to Abe Bobb, who recorded the final two outs for his second save of the season.
The Dons held an 11-10 advantage in hits during the four-hour, 24-minute marathon.