Sun, May. 3, 2009 - [Baseball]
Jon Denham, Sports Information Director
May 3, 2009
The Duhawks scored 17 runs on 17 hits in game one Saturday, including 10 runs in the final two innings on offense, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Cornell Rams, who started their Senior Day celebrations early with a bottom of the seventh inning rally that snatched victory from the Duhawks.
The Rams had just four hits in the inning, which began with a nine run Loras lead. Loras contributed to the late rally with three errors, four walks, and one hit by pitch.
The Duhawks scored in double digits again in the loss, with Nick Olberding tallying four hits and Clark Egdorf and John Schroeder three apiece. Austin Safranski was touched up for eight earned runs over five innings, but the late rally took the pressure off the pitching staff until the ten run seventh inning when nothing seemed to go right for Loras.
The loss, combined with a Luther sweep of the University of Dubuque meant Loras needed to win the regular season finale to maintain a tie at 15-7 in the league with the Norse and claim the top seed in next week's IIAC Tournament. The Duhawks won two of three against the Norse on April 17-18.
The Duhawks rebouneded quickly in game two, plating six runs in the top of the first inning to take control of the series' rubber match. Three hits in the inning and an error by the Rams and Loras was on pace for their 15th win of the Iowa Conference season.
Tension built quickly in the bottom of the inning when Cornell pushed across three quick runs to cut into the lead. With a couple of fly balls, Loras starter Kyler Laurie was out of the inning. Laurie settled in over the final six innings, conceding just one more run in going the distance for the win. Kyler gave up only six hits and struck out five in earning his team high ninth win of the season (9-1).
Ben Kuebel was 2-for-3 with three runs score, an RBI and two stolen bases for the Duhawks. Nick Olberding continued his hitting streak, going 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI of his own. The senior shortstop has now hit safely in 19 consecutive games dating back to March 31.
The bottom of the seventh was much less stressful in game two, with the Rams going in down order - no runs, no hits, no errors. The game ended with a groundout to Olberding at short, and the celebration began as the Duhawks met Kyler Laurie on the pitcher's mound. The title was Loras' first baseball crown since 1952, a championship they shared then as well, with the league split into two divisions.