HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Forester baseball team picked up two big wins, 4-3, 8-5, over Taylor University (23-17, 15-7) Wednesday afternoon at Forest Glen Park to move into 5th in the league standings while their visitors dropped to 3rd.
With these wins, HU improves to 17-19 overall, 11-11 in league play and wraps up the season series with the Trojans having won three of the four outings. The last time the Trojans lost a season series against a league opponent was back in April of 2010 when they went 0-2 against Saint Francis.
It took extra innings to decide the winner of game one as the contest proved to be a see saw affair with Jared Green’s RBI-groundout in the second giving HU the first lead of the day. Taylor responded in the top of the third to deadlock things 1-1 but the Foresters struck again in the 4th when Michael Crowley doubled in Avery Sneed who had opened up play with a double of his own.
Once again the Trojans answered in their very next at-bat to pull even, for the second time, at 2-2. The next two innings were relatively quiet as each team logged a hit in their half of the frame but wasn’t able to piece together any sort of rally to send the game into extra innings.
The eighth inning was filled with plenty of action but not necessarily the type of action that either team defensively wanted as a misplayed grounder by the Foresters resulted in a Trojan run but Taylor returned the favor later in the frame. After Shea Beauchamp was hit by a pitch, his pinch runner Michael Kempton advanced to second on a single by TJ Lindstrand and then eventually made his way home by way of a wild pitch extending the game by one more inning where Dylan Henricks’ walk-off single gave HU the victory.
Derek McKinney went the distance on the mound to pick up the complete-game win. In nine innings in the circle he gave up eight hits, three runs, two of which were earned, three walks while striking out just as many.
Crowley went 3-for-4 at the plate to go along with one RBI. Lindstrand and Sneed each posted a pair of hits.
The nightcap had a different feel as Huntington played catch up through the first four innings before exploding for five runs in the fifth to mount an impressive comeback.
The scoring frenzy included three hits and two Trojan errors with Andy Roser and Austin Drummond each driving in a run, Roser’s by way of a single to right and Drummond’s by way of a sacrifice bunt. HU scored two other runs on a botched grounder by Taylor and another when Crowley was hit by a pitch with bases loaded. The five-run inning gave HU an 8-5 advantage that they were able to ride out for the win.
Prior to that, Taylor built a 3-0 lead in the 2nd but HU wasted little time getting one back in their half of the frame compliments of a run-scoring double by Crowley. The Trojans tacked on another run in the third to make for a 4-1 advantage but the Foresters kept within striking distance by trimming the lead to one in their next at-bat.
Blake Ayers was the catalyst for HU’s first run. After getting hit by a pitch, he made his way to the other corner on a wild pitch and Henricks’ single before sneaking home on a double play. Three batters later, Brock Gower knocked in his ninth RBI of the year with a single to left.
It looked like the Trojans were on course for a win as they added one more run in the 5th to pull away 5-3 but that’s when HU’s bats erupted for five runs to completely turn the tides.
Roser and Gower paced HU offensively with a pair of base pokes. They also each drove in a run while Sneed and Crowley tallied two RBI.
John Ripke picked up the complete-game victory to improve to 4-1 on the season. He gave up ten hits, five runs and a walk while striking out one.
There’s no rest for the weary as the Foresters travel to Indiana Wesleyan tonight to open up their season series with the Wildcats. Opening pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m.