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Stephanie Salter

May 1, 2011

Memorable victories

Rose gives coach 600th career win

TERRE HAUTE — This was about as much fun as a doubleheader split could get for Rose-Hulman’s baseball team.

Although the Engineers lost to Manchester 6-1 in the first game Saturday afternoon at Art Nehf Field, they came back to edge the Spartans 4-2 in the second game to culminate “Senior Day” for nine seniors and provide coach Jeff Jenkins with his 600th career win.

Before arriving at Rose in 1990, Jenkins notched a total of 45 victories at Heidelberg (30 in 1987 and 1988) and Bethany (15 in 1989). Since then, he’s compiled a record of 555-327-1 in 22 seasons. Overall, he’s 600-392-2 in 25 seasons.

“We’ve had some great players here,” Jenkins reflected afterward. “They’re the reasons we’ve won so many games. I don’t do much but stand around and complain and yell a little bit, but we’ve had great kids who are tremendously dedicated to our program.”

Jenkins expressed pride in how his players “do it the right way.”

“There’s so much more to baseball than who is ahead at the end of the game,” he explained. “It’s how you get there. It’s the quality of the kids you’ve got in your program. Those things mean more to me than wins and all that stuff.”

Still, Jenkins would have preferred his 600th triumph come in Saturday’s opener instead of the second game. But the Engineers managed only seven hits, including a sixth-inning double by Chris Stemple, who eventually scored their only run in Game 1 on a sacrifice fly by Michael Kovacs.

“Their pitcher [sophomore Justin Scott] just shut us down,” Jenkins said. “He kept us off-balance and he threw a lot of easy outs. I think we came out a little bit flat after that big [14-12] win Friday night.”

Stemple and Bobby Newman each went 2 for 3 for Rose-Hulman in Game 1.

In Game 2, the home team jumped ahead with a run in the bottom of the first. With one out, B.J. Zobrist and Kovacs singled and Derek Dauenbaugh’s sac fly to center field brought home Zobrist.

Manchester tied the score on an RBI single by Cody Schell in the second, but Rose erupted for three runs in the fourth to move ahead 4-1.

Dauenbaugh led off by reaching base on an error, Donald Stopka doubled and Newman walked to load the bases. One out later, Matt Turk singled home Dauenbaugh. Will Burchett singled home Stopka and, with two outs, Newman raced home on a wild pitch.

The Spartans tallied a second run off Rose-Hulman starting pitcher Nick Rumpke in the fifth to pull within 4-2, but Rumpke and reliever Gannon Sadzeck held them scoreless over the final four innings.

“The second game, we were a lot more focused,” Jenkins pointed out. “Our effort was much, much better.”

He described Rumpke’s seven-inning performance in the second game as “outstanding.”

“Two seniors — him and Gannon — really gave us a great effort, holding them to two runs in nine innings,” Jenkins emphasized. “That’s a heck of an effort out of those two guys.”

Turk ended up 3 for 4 and Burchett 2 for 4 in the second game.

Rose won the series two games to one, improving its records to 23-12 overall and 13-7 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), The Engineers sit in third place heading into a Tuesday contest at HCAC foe Franklin.

Jenkins’ squad has a total of four conference games remaining in the regular season. The top four finishers will qualify for the HCAC tournament at the field of the regular-season champion.

“At least now we’re at the point where 2-2 [for the rest of the regular season] can get us in,” Jenkins mentioned. “A 3-1 record should get us in, but an 0-4 or a 1-3 would really put us in a tough spot.”

With the split, Manchester (24-12 overall) fell from first to second in the standings at 15-6. Transylvania climbed into first at 12-4 by sweeping a twinbill from Earlham on Saturday.

Before Saturday’s action at Art Nehf Field, Rose-Hulman honored the following seniors with a ceremony: Kovacs, Rumpke, Sadzeck, Stemple, Zobrist, Andrew Oakley, Neil Krueger, Andrew Markowitz and Ken Carpenter.

“All of them have been with us for four years,” Jenkins noted. “They’re a tremendous group. They’re better people than players and they’re great players. Don’t get me wrong.”

Over the past four seasons, these seniors have helped compile 117 victories and counting.

“They’ve worked their tails off,” Jenkins stressed. “They’re not, physically, the most gifted team ever. But this team has heart. They’re the winningest group over four years ever at Rose-Hulman.”

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