TERRE HAUTE —
Both games in the Defiance vs. Rose-Hulman baseball doubleheader Saturday at Art Nehf Field took place between noon and 6 p.m.
Yet the difference between the two was like night and day.
In the opener, junior left-hander Jim Bob Schuler hurled a seven-inning shutout to help the Engineers post a 5-0 victory.
In a much crazier Game 2, Rose pitchers hit six batters and Defiance busted loose for seven runs in the top of the ninth inning to turn the tables and win 11-9, avoiding a sweep of the three-game Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference series.
Schuler allowed three hits — all singles — and walked two batters while striking out six in chalking up his first complete game of the season.
“My changeup on the outer half [of the plate] was kinda keeping the [Defiance] guys on their front foot,” Schuler explained. “I talked to [Rose-Hulman ace pitcher] Andrew Oakley before the game and he gave me some tips on what was working for him [Friday night] and it really helped me out.”
“I thought that was the best game Jim Bob’s ever had since he’s been in uniform for us,” Rose coach Jeff Jenkins added. “He was in command the whole time, getting ahead in the count. He had the changeup going great.”
Rose-Hulman’s leading hitters in the first game were Bobby Newman, who went 2 for 3, and Chris Stemple, who went 2 for 4.
The Engineers seized an early advantage with three runs in the second inning. Newman and Derek Dauenbaugh led off with doubles, then Donald Stopka reached on an error that allowed Newman to come home from third base and Neil Krueger grounded out to plate Dauenbaugh. Andrew Benitez followed with a single and Nick Pilipovich grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Stopka.
Rose’s other two runs came in the sixth. With one out, Stopka singled and Krueger reached on an error. Hank Akard, pinch-running for Stopka, stole third. One out later, Pilipovich and Stemple delivered back-to-back singles to send home Akard and Krueger respectively.
Defiance loaded the bases off Schuler with one out in the seventh, but a 6-4-3 double play ended the threat and the game.
The second game opened with Defiance scoring twice in the first inning, with Brent James and Brad Kremer singling in the runs.
The home team tallied once in the third when Michael Kovacs led off by reaching on an error, stole second and raced home one out later on a double by Dauenbaugh.
Rose-Hulman catapulted on top 4-2 with three runs in the fourth. With one out, Stemple got hit by a pitch and Benitez and Kovacs reached on errors to load the bases. Newman singled in Stemple and, one out later, Stopka singled in the other two runners.
After the Yellow Jackets from Ohio put up a run in the fifth to pull within 4-3, Rose responded with two in the bottom of the fifth to increase its lead to 6-3, thanks to RBI singles by Stemple and Kovacs.
A single tally in the seventh temporarily cut the Defiance deficit to 6-4, then the Engineers answered with three this time to pad their cushion to 9-4. Knocking in the first two runs were Newman (bunt single) and B.J. Zobrist (sacrifice fly), while the third came in on a passed ball.
In the pivotal top of the ninth, Andrew Markowitz became the fourth pitcher of the contest for Rose-Hulman. He issued walks to the first two batters he faced before Bobby Pardun singled in a run to make the score 9-5 in the Engineers’ favor. A wild pitch made it 9-6 and two run-scoring groundouts made it 9-8.
After Brent Kremer received his third hit-by-pitch of the game, Jenkins replaced Markowitz with Chris Erickson, who gave up a single to James and hit Justin Mathias with a pitch to load the bases.
Amazingly, Erickson also plunked the next batter — Jonathan Murphy — to tie the score at 9-9. That brought a frustrated Jenkins out of the dugout again, this time to remove Erickson from the mound in favor of Ethan Post.
Brad Kremer greeted Post with a line-drive, two-run double down the left-field line to give the visitors a shocking 11-9 lead. Defiance reliever Jake Taylor mowed down the Engineers one-two-three in the bottom of the ninth to earn a save.
“Obviously, we couldn’t get the ball over the plate,” said Jenkins, who questioned whether some of the called balls to the first two Defiance batters in the ninth really were balls.
Also worth noting, Rose left 14 runners on base in the second game.
“I hope that one doesn’t come back to haunt us,” Jenkins noted.
Considering there’s nothing he can do about it now, Jenkins tried to put a positive spin on the first series of the HCAC season.
“We won two and lost one,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it.”
TERRE HAUTE —
Both games in the Defiance vs. Rose-Hulman baseball doubleheader Saturday at Art Nehf Field took place between noon and 6 p.m.
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