South Dakota State scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to force extra innings in the opener and jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the nightcap as the Jackrabbits spoiled Valparaiso's home opener on Sunday afternoon sweeping the twin bill 8-5 in 11 innings and 6-2 at Emory G. Bauer Field.
On a cold, breezy day Valpo played small ball in the opener to jump in front. Kevin Perri (South Bend, Ind./Adams H.S.) lead off with a bunt single, stole second, and advanced to third on a ground out. Michael Arensdorff (Park View, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) drove him in with a bounce out for a 1-0 lead.
South Dakota State answered with three runs in the top of the third before the Crusaders tied it in the bottom half of the inning without a hit. A walk and a sacrifice bunt with a throwing error plated one run and a ground out scored the third run of the game for the Brown and Gold.
In the fourth, a delayed double steal of home by Kevin Kutansky (Schererville, Ind./Munster H.S.) put Valpo in front and the Crusaders tacked on what they hoped would be an insurance run in the sixth. Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) had a two-out RBI single to drive in Arensdorff and Valpo went into the seventh with a 5-3 lead.
South Dakota State tied the game in the seventh as Jake Rogers singled and Nick Adams doubled with one out to put runners on second and third. A passed ball scored Rogers and Cal Lewis' sacrifice fly tied the game.
Neither team could push a run across the plate until the 11th when the Jackrabbits led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by Valpo. A triple by Lewis added another and Tyson Fisher capped off a 4-for-6 game with a single for the game's final margin.
John Snelten (Ingleside, Ill./Antioch H.S.) started for Valpo, going 6.1 innings allowing seven this and five runs, four of which were earned. Mike Stankiewicz (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West H.S.) suffered the loss in relief, going four innings and allowing the three runs in the 11th, two of which were unearned.
Dalton Decker earned the win for South Dakota State out of the bullpen, working the final three innings.
In the nightcap, the Jackrabbits batted around in the second scoring four times. They added two more in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead before Reynolds' sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth put Valpo on the board. The Crusaders added another run on an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Kutansky in the sixth.
South Dakota State's Matt Bowman went the distance for the win, allowing just four hits and two walks in the seven-inning complete game. Harvey Yergin (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) started, throwing six innings, and suffered the loss for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso (2-10) and South Dakota State (4-10) will conclude their four-game weekend series on Monday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. The twinbill is a result of Saturday's postponement due to the cold weather and snow flurries. The games will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.