INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It wasn’t exactly how the Forester baseball team had hoped their Crossroads League opener would go as they dropped a pair of one-run games to Marian University, 5-4, 4-3, Saturday afternoon.
For the seventh time this season, Huntington established a lead but couldn’t hang on down the stretch to make for a disappointing start to the 2013 season.
While hitting was at a premium in game one, it was a well-played contest of errorless baseball that featured 13 hits between the two teams.
Speedster Jordan Klopfenstein made the most of his opportunities in his first trip to the plate to score in the opening frame. After drawing a walk, the Pettisville native stole second, advanced to third on a Josh Lanphier groundout and darted home on a wild pitch to give HU an early 1-0 lead.
It was a short-lived advantage as the Knights came up with three runs, two on a blast from DH Tom Green, in their half of the inning to creep ahead 3-1. They tagged on another run in the second before the Foresters steadily closed the gap over the next four innings.
Adam Christner played a hand in HU’s next two runs. After drawing the game’s fourth walk, he eventually came around to score when Lanphier knocked him in to close the gap at 4-2 after three.
Two innings later, Marc Bowers started things with a double into right center and Christner finished it off by smacking one up the middle for an RBI-single to trim the lead 4-3.
The Foresters carried their momentum into the sixth. Blake Ayers set the stage with a base poke into center. Jamon Hamel dropped one into right, allowing Ayers to round the bases to deadlock things at 4-4.
After three scoreless innings of play, Marian came back to life at the plate to reclaim the lead in their half of the sixth. With bases loaded after two singles sandwiched a balk, Cameron Bahler laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate what turned out to be the game-winner.
Ayers went 2-for-3 from the plate and scored a run to pace HU offensively while Lanphier and Christner each finished with an RBI-single.
Senior hurler Brian Kirschbaum started for HU and scattered five hits, two walks and four runs with one strikeout over 4.2 innings. John Ripke tossed 1.1 innings of relief and took the loss as he gave up a run in the sixth.
After trailing 3-0 through the first six innings of the nightcap, the Knights wrapped up the home sweep with a heroic come-from-behind win in the bottom of the seventh much to the chagrin of a Forester squad desperate for its first win.
The Foresters drop to 0-12 overall, 0-2 in conference play.
With a little help from Marian, Christner got things rolling for the Foresters. After being hit by a pitch and stealing second, the senior centerfielder advanced to third on a Klopfenstein bunt and then touched home on a Knight error to put his team up 1-0 after their first at-bats.
Fast forward to the top of the fifth where Christner again rallied the troops with a lead-off double and then scored his second run of the contest after capitalizing on a second Knight error to give HU a 2-0 lead. Hammel’s sacrifice fly two batters later pushed the advantage to three.
Hanging onto a comfy 3-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the seventh, things quickly crumbled for Coach Frame’s squad. In addition to banging out three hits, Marian took advantage of a hit batter and a timely Forester error to log four runs, three unearned, to send a stunned Forester team packing.
Christner accounted for two of HU’s four hits with Klopfenstein and Hammel each picking up a base poke in the losing effort.
After limiting the Knights to just six hits through the first six innings, starting pitcher Xyan Adkisson gave up three more hits and three runs, one earned, in the seventh before being relieved by Blake Hohlbein who was stuck with the loss after giving up the game-winner.
Huntington is scheduled to host Marian tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.