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Jackrabbits leave Bison dry in conference tourney

The No. 3 South Dakota State Jackrabbits upset the No. 2 North Dakota State Bison in the first round of the Summit League baseball tournament.

North Dakota State's Will Busch takes a cut during the Bison's Summit League Championship opener against South Dakota State on Wednesday, May 24, at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo.
Zachary Lucy/NDSU Athletics

FARGO — The North Dakota State Bison left Wednesday night’s game stunned after a historic performance by South Dakota State’s Nic Nelson.

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits ousted the Bison 17-4 in the first round of the Summit League Championship at Newman Outdoor Field.

Nelson homered three times, a feat which hadn’t been accomplished in the Summit since Mark Pederson and J.J. Swiatkowski did it for Oral Roberts in 2000. Nelson was 4 for 5 and drove in eight runs.

“It’s a really cool stat,” Nelson said of the feat. “When you get recognition for things like that, it feels pretty good.”

The Jackrabbits slugger launched his first home run, a two-run shot, in the first inning, drilling the foul pole in left field. He singled in two runs in the fourth, hit another two-run blast in the sixth and then another two-run homer in the seventh.


“It’s one of the things that’s great about our job, you get to see some really cool things,” said SDSU head coach Rob Bishop. “(Nelson) has had a tremendous night tonight and a really nice season. It’s a gratifying thing that we do is getting to see the guys be successful.”

The Jackrabbits attacked NDSU starter Cade Feeney in the fourth inning, scoring six runs. NDSU pieced together a well-needed four-run surge in the fifth inning.

Will Busch doubled off the wall in left-center to score Davis Hamilton. Cadyn Schwabe and Peter Brookshaw followed with RBI singles.

The Bison threatened to rally in the bottom half of the sixth but mishaps on the base paths ended in two runners both being tagged out.

“We got some hits and ran into outs,” said NDSU head coach Tyler Oakes. “Things that we can control we didn’t really do a good job of. That’s not very characteristic of us.”

NDSU committed five errors, the most since an April 14 matchup against the St. Thomas Tommies.

The Jackrabbits continued to assert dominance and scored six more runs in the seventh. SDSU scored a run on a balk and Luke Ira and Dawson Parry both smacked RBI singles.Nelson followed with his third homer.

SDSU starter Reece Arbogast went 4-1/3 innings and gave up three earned runs. He didn't issue a walk and struck out two.


“Arbogast has been a guy that’s been consistent for us all year long,” Bishop said.”I didn’t expect him to get as deep into the game as he did. But when we had the lead, he was really throwing the ball well.”

Busch had two doubles in a 3 for 4 night. Druw Sackett was 2 for 4 with an RBI. Feeney allowed seven earned runs over four innings with four strikeouts.

Oakes said the Bison need to forget about the previous game and play more sound baseball to have success in their next game..

“We just need to go back and play how we’re capable of,” Oakes said. “ We need to flush this one down. It’s a quick turnaround and we need to get back out, play better and clean everything up.”

The Bison face off against the No. 4 Omaha Mavericks at 12:05 p.m. Thursday, May 25. The Jackrabbits play No. 1 seed Oral Roberts at 6:05 p.m. Thursday.

After graduating from North Dakota State University, Haugland joined the Forum in January of 2023. Readers can reach him at 701-241-5508 or by emailing ahaugland@forumcomm.com
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