News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rose-Hulman

May 12, 2012

Engineers sputter in HCAC tourney: Rose finishes 27-14 after loss

TERRE HAUTE — Rose-Hulman appeared poised to bounce back from an 8-1 loss in Thursday night’s opener of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.

Scoring three runs in the first inning sparked by a Parker Fulkerson double, the Engineers’ offense sputtered the remaining eight innings as Anderson pitcher Greg Vogt tossed a complete game to lead the Ravens to a 7-3 win at Art Nehf Field. Top-seeded and regular-season champion Rose-Hulman ended its season 27-14.

Rose southpaw Jim Bob Schuler went 41⁄3 innings but he was not 100 percent after being questionable all week with a pulled muscle in his throwing elbow. Schuler worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, but he wasn’t as fortunate in the fourth and fifth. The senior said he couldn’t use his fastball much due to the pain, and Anderson effectively did what it needed to do with Schuler’s off-speed arsenal — poke base-hits the opposite way.

“They didn’t really square too much up. Basically, I threw maybe five fastballs all day coming off the injury. I just threw the pitches that didn’t hurt the worst,” said Schuler, who asked coach Jeff Jenkins to take the start despite getting little throwing done during the week. “Last Thursday I pulled a muscle in my elbow so been battling that all week.”

Jenkins was happy to give the senior a shot. The Engineers’ bullpen then gave up seven hits in the final 42⁄3 innings, but only one of the last four runs was earned.

“That’s one of the guttiest efforts we’ve ever had out of any kid,” Jenkins said.

“He could have easily, if we turned the double-play ball when they got their [first] run, [if] we turn that maybe he gets through that fifth inning. We thought if he gives us five innings that’s tremendous.”

The Rose-Hulman offense fizzled after Bobby Newman’s RBI single scored Fulkerson to put the Engineers up in the first. Rose took adevantage of a pair of Anderson errors to jump out to a 3-0 lead.

Fulkerson, a former Terre Haute North standout, went 2 for 4, finishing his first season with the Engineers with a .347 batting average.

“We got started off hot in that first inning, got some big hits there, but our offense just went away after that,” Fulkerson said. “[Vogt] was throwing strikes, he was mixing it up a little bit. It was a pretty decent curve ball and he had a good change-up. He kept us off balance just enough.”

Anderson coach David Pressley was impressed by Vogt’s performance, which allowed him to conserve his bullpen for Friday night’s game against Franklin.

“What I told the guys, in a tournament format like this, to give up three and then battle with nothing but zeros and save the bullpen is an incredible individual effort on his part mentally to come back and finish that game,” Pressley said.

The second-year coach also credited his hitters’ approach, as the Ravens dinked out 13 singles and a double in the game.

“We had been out front and chasing a lot of pitches [early on] and then we stayed back, and the two-RBI single was an opposite-field hit and that’s what we needed to do there,” Pressley said of Drew Bantley’s big one-out hit in the fifth that knocked Schuler from the mound.

Jenkins lamented the two Rose-Hulman errors that followed three key miscues in Friday night’s 8-1 loss to Manchester.

“We didn’t play well. We have such a fine margin for error because we just don’t hit the ball that well. We just don’t bunch hits together,” Jenkins said. “We kick a ball and it costs us. These other teams are so much bigger and stronger than us.”

The season was still an impressive one, Jenkins added.

“Our kids, to their credit, they play extremely hard. We have to play so much harder and better than everyone else,” he said. “That’s a credit to them, that they’ve been able to win the conference. The heart and desire, you can’t measure. We won 27 games on a heck of a lot of heart and a lot of desire.”

The Engineers obviously weren’t pleased with the postseason outcome, but it was a memorable spring.

“It was awesome. To get the opportunity to host this tournament was definitely something that none of us expected coming in. Definitely not the way you want to come out as the host,” said Bobby Newman, who had a game-high three hits. “I booted a couple balls that led to a bunch of runs [Friday], and it was a a tough loss last night. That’s one thing this team has done is always battled together. The seniors will definitely be missed.”

Fulkerson also looks forward to trying to help the Engineers’ host another conference tournament.

“I was really happy about that [regular-season title],” Fulkerson said. “It was fun being able to host the tournament. It’s a good start for me for my career here. I’ve got a couple years left. Hopefully we can build off that. We’ve got some good young talent coming back.”

Manchester defeated Franklin 11-5 to advance to Sunday’s championship game.

The fourth-seeded Spartans take on third-seeded Anderson, which won 5-1 over Franklin on Friday night. Marshall, Ill., native Nolan Schaefer tossed seven innings of four-hit baseball for his third win of the season.

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