Spring Arbor ends Foresters' season

 Spring Arbor University scored five runs over the first three innings and eventually bounced the Foresters from the MCC Tournament by a score of 7-2.

HU put four hits together in the top of the fourth to get on the scoreboard with a pair of runs to make it 5-2, but that was where the Foresters' offense ended. The Cougars got their final two runs of the game in the bottom of the eighth to seal HU's fate.

Mitch Bowers started the game and went 2 and 2/3 innings in the loss. He gave up five runs on eight hits while striking out one. Andrew Drummond was the lone Forester with two hits in the game which included a double.

HU advanced to the Spring Arbor game after defeating Marian College 5-4 in 10 innings earlier in the day. Eric Randel got off to a shaky start on the mound giving up three consecutive hits to allow the Knights their first run. A Forester error extended the inning and allowed Marian to tack on two more for a 3-0 lead after a half-inning of play. From there, Randel settled down and took control of the game allowing HU to slowly chip away at the Knight's lead.

The Foresters scored a run in the bottom of the third on a two-out single by Eric Harpring. A one-out double by Cody Richey in the fifth drove in Jarod Hammel and a lead-off jack by Edwin Rodriguez in the sixth finally knotted the score at 3-3. That's where the score remained until the ninth inning.

The way things began for Marian in the top of the ninth, it looked as if the Knights may put the game away with a big inning. The first Marian batter was hit by a pitch and the next two reached on misplayed bunts to load the bases with no outs. The Knights then scored the go-ahead run on a single to left by Evan Schludecker. Travis Frantz was then brought on in relief of Randel and he inherited a no-out, bases loaded jam. Frantz immediately got Todd Ungru to ground into a 3-2-1 double play. He then walked the Marian's clean-up hitter to load the bases and avoided any further damage by fielding a comebacker and throwing the runner out at first.

With the first two batters grounding out and striking out in the bottom of the ninth, HU was quickly down to its final out. Eric Schultz tried to bunt for a hit, but Knights' pitcher Pat Midla fielded it cleanly and just needed to make the throw to put the Foresters away. Instead, Midla airmailed it over the first baseman's head allowing Schultz to reach second. Harpring then delivered a clutch double to center to bring HU back from the brink of elimination. Midla got Rodriguez to ground out to send the game to an extra inning.

Frantz retired the Knights in order in the top of the tenth to keep the momentum in HU's favor. Drummond began the Foresters' half of the frame with a walk, but he was put out at second on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Ryan Shell. Shell moved into scoring position when Frantz was hit by a pitch. Justin Branock flew out to left for the second out of the inning and then Hammel got the walk-off single to left that drove in Shell for the come-from-behind win.

Frantz recorded the win for HU. He held the Knights scoreless in two innings of work while walking one and striking out one. Harpring, Drummond and Hammel each had three hits in the contest and Harpring had a team-high two RBI.

The Foresters' season draws to a close with a record of 26-19.


Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director