News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

March 21, 2014

Rose-Hulman rolls to 12-0 baseball win over Bluffton

TERRE HAUTE — Twelve runs scored, eight hard-hit doubles, five stolen bases, three double plays and Rose-Hulman’s first home run of the season.

There were no partridges in a pear tree for the Engineers. But they got plenty of offensive and defensive production to support sophomore right-hander Andrew Stull’s three-hit shutout — his first as a college pitcher — as they blasted Bluffton 12-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball action Friday at Art Nehf Field.

“We hit the ball like we haven’t hit it all year long,” Rose coach Jeff Jenkins told the Tribune-Star afterward.

These same teams will meet at the same location for a pair of nine-inning games today, starting at noon. Jenkins said he’ll send righties R.J. Carroll and Karson Nixon to the mound.

On a pleasant evening weather-wise Friday, shortstop/lead-off man Kody Alayon went 4 for 5 with a double and two steals and cleanup batter Donnie Waters belted belted two doubles and hammered a solo roundtripper to right-center field in the eighth inning.

“Donnie hit the ball well tonight,” Jenkins noted.

By that point, however, the Engineers didn’t really need any more runs to win the game.

They started the blowout with two runs in the bottom of the first. Alayon led off with a single and stole second base, then Hank Akard singled him home. Four batters later, Josh Hoeing looped a single to center to plate Akard.

Rose-Hulman increased its lead to 5-0 with three more in the second. Zach Trusk led off with a double and later came home from third when Alayon grounded a single to left. Alayon again stole second and he scored on another RBI single by Akard, who later stole second himself. One out later, Waters drilled an RBI double to left-center to produce the third run of the frame.

While Stull kept motoring along with help from his top-flight defense, the Engineers padded their cushion to 6-0 with a run in the fourth. With one out, Alayon doubled down the right-field line. One out later, another Waters double to left-center sent Alayon trotting home.

Rose’s margin grew to 8-0 in the sixth when Andrew Benitez singled in Caleb Kissel, who had doubled, and Hoeing singled in Waters, who had walked.

Waters’ bomb triggered a four-run explosion in the eighth. Benitez and Hoeing followed with back-to-back doubles. One out later, pinch-hitter Warren Whithaus also doubled and he eventually scored the final run when he raced home from third on a wild pitch.

In addition to Alayon and Waters, other Rose-Hulman big hitters were Hoeing (3 for 5 with three runs batted in), Akard (2 for 6 with two RBIs) and Benitez (2 for 4).

“I just feel like I came to the ballpark seeing pitches well,” Alayon assessed. “I was glad to hit as well as I did.”

From the pitching perspective, Stull ended up with three strikeouts while allowing three hits and three walks. He also benefited from those three above-mentioned double plays.

“He was outstanding,” Jenkins said of Stull. “We started out by kicking the ball [for an error] and they had the bases loaded [in the second inning]. Boy, we were this close to really being in trouble and we turned a [4-6 line-drive] double play. That’s how we’ve won a lot of games the last two years.”

“I started off at the beginning with my location … then I could get my off-speed pitches to work to keep ‘em off balance,” Stull explained. “Then the defense saved me when I was struggling.

“The defense played phenomenal tonight.”

Bluffton    000    000    000    —    0    3    0

Rose-Hulman    230    102    040    —    12    17    2

Simonds, Brown (6), Avery (8) and Webb, Scotch (9); Stull (W, 1-2) and Trusk, Whithaus (8). L — Simonds, 1-3. HR — RH: Waters (1).

Next — Rose-Hulman (6-4 overall, 1-0 HCAC) and Bluffton (7-5, 0-1) will square off in a doubleheader at noon today at Art Nehf Field.

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