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Jackrabbits start fast, race past UNM baseball team

Feb. 22—You might say the South Dakota State Jackrabbits got the jump on the UNM baseball team Thursday.

It was quite a sizeable jump, in fact.

SDSU (3-2) battered UNM pitching early and limited some Lobo rallies late in an 11-5 victory at breezy Santa Ana Star Field. The Jackrabbits belted four home runs and collected all 11 of their hits in the first five innings.

It was more than enough to spoil the home opener for New Mexico (2-3), which managed just one hit through the first five frames. The Lobos did manage to find their hitting shoes in the final three innings but could not overcome the large deficit.

Starter Jaren Jackson (0-2) was stung by the long ball for a second straight outing. Jackson was tagged for all four Jackrabbits homers after giving up four long balls in a 15-6 loss to then-No. 5 Oregon State last week.

The trouble started immediately for UNM when Luke Luskey doubled to start the game and came home on a single by Bryce Ronken. Dawson Parry then launched a two-run homer into the breeze blowing out to right-center field, and SDSU led 3-0 as fans were still settling into their seats.

Jackson settled in and kept the Jackrabbits off the board through the third inning.

SDSU pitcher Nic McCay was outstanding in his first start of the season, allowing just one hit (Jake Holland's two-out double in the bottom of the first) while striking out seven Lobos through three innings.

Carter Sintek and Cade Stuff smacked solo homers in the fourth to increase SDSU's lead to 5-0. The Jackrabbits then broke things open with a six-run sixth. Cael Frost's two-run shot to right field ended Jackson's day, and Davis Carr socked a bases-loaded double off reliever Brett Russell during the rally.

The Lobos' offense finally awakened in the seventh, when Devon Dixon doubled home a run, and Sean Stephens followed with a two-run triple down the line to make it 11-3. UNM picked up two more hits in the eighth and loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth but was only able to scratch across two runs.

Parry, Stuff and Carr had two hits each for SDSU, while eight Lobos finished with one hit apiece. Russell pitched well after a rough start, holding the visitors hitless over the final four innings and finishing with eight strikeouts.

UNM and SDSU play game two of the four-game series Friday at 2 p.m. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon.