Thu, Mar. 31, 2011 - [Baseball]
The Loras College baseball returned to the win column on Tuesday and Wednesday evening after defeating UW-Platteville 9-7 and Monmouth College 3-1. Each nine inning game included a clutch hit, and the Wednesday win over Monmouth included tying a school record.
Loras 9, UWP 7
Whoever said "it isn't how you start, but how you finish" must have known something about the Duhawks' Tuesday win over the Pioneers from Platteville, Wisconsin.
Loras starting pitcher Eric Rife issued two walks and the defense committed an error before cleanup hitter Brett Benesh of Platteville hit a grand slam to start the top of the first inning. Rife would settle down, the Duhawks would push across one run in the bottom of the inning, and then used two big innings to earn the win.
After three innings the visitors had built a 5-1 lead, but after four, things looked much different. Travis Olson walked to start the inning and Kyle Soeder quickly homered to left field to make it 5-3. Two walks and a hit batter later, Calvin Rea stepped in and delivered a one out single that plated two runs and tied the game.
The Pioneers answered with two hits and two runs in the top of the fifth to reclaim the lead for three more innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Duhawks put together their most impressive two-out rally of the season. Two strikeouts to start the inning by the Duhawks set the stage for a walk and two fielding errors by the Pioneers to load the bases. Austin Brown cleared the bases with a line drive double to the gap in left center and give Loras an 8-7 lead. Travis Olson then drove in Brown to score an insurance run headed to the top of the ninth. All four runs in the inning were unearned.
Spencer Radabaugh entered the game for the final out of the eighth inning and followed with a not-so-smooth ninth that included a walk and a hit batter. In the end, Radabaugh punched out pinch hitter Charlie Beckman looking to end the game and earn the comeback win for the Duhawks.
Loras 3, Monmouth 1
Loras burned up the base paths in Wednesday's game with the Fighting Scots from Monmouth College, using seven stolen bases and two wild pitches by the Scots to score three runs in the first three innings.
Austin Brown singled in the second inning, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and was driven home by a Clay Henricksen single to make it 1-0.
In the Loras half of the third, Joe Walker singled, stole second, and was driven home by a Calvin Rea double to make it 2-0. Rea then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a BJ Juergens single to close out the scoring for the Duhawks after three innings.
After seven innings, Ben Cottrell left the game in line for the win after holding the Pioneers to seven hits over seven innings, walking just one, and striking out six.
Kyler Laurie conceded one run in the eighth on a bases loaded walk, but got a big strikeout on pinch hitter Ricky Caruso to end the inning and the late threat. Radabaugh came on to close things out in the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning.
Freshman second baseman Joe Walker added three other stolen bases to his swipe in the third inning and tied the Loras record for stolen bases in a game with four. He is now 13-for-14 on the season.
The two wins puts the Duhawks at 7-9 overall ahead of this weekend's IIAC series with the Simpson College Storm. The teams are scheduled to play a 6:00 PM Friday night nine inning game, followed by a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1:00 PM.
Friday's game can be heard live on duhawks.com at the GameCentral tab.