LAKELAND, Fla. - On day two of spring break, the Foresters swept a doubleheader with Olivet Nazarene University Monday afternoon at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, 7-5, 4-1, to improve to 3-5 on the season.
Things didn’t start off well for HU in game one as the Tigers hammered out six hits and took advantage of three Forester errors to take a convincing 5-0 lead after three innings of play.
But Huntington returned the favor in the top of the fifth. Jamon Hammel doubled to center to get things started and then advanced to third on a misplayed grounder. Marc Bowers reached base on a walk and took second on a passed ball before Josh Lanphier knocked both his teammates in with a single to center.
Things went from bad to worse for ONU as Jordan Klopfenstein took advantage of the Tigers’ second error of the inning to reach first and then scampered to second on a wild pitch. Blake Ayers’ infield single plated two more runs and Eric Schultz capped off HU’s scoring frenzy with an RBI-double to knot things up at 5-5.
Both teams stranded runners in the sixth before the Foresters exploded for two more runs in the seventh for the heroic finish. The rally started when Ayers worked a walk and Schultz followed up with single to center. With runners on the corners, a wild throw allowed Ayers to cruise home for what proved to be the game-winner. Adams smacked one into left to drive in an insurance run as the Foresters posted an impressive come-from-behind win.
Starting pitcher Ethan Tribolet took the mound for five innings and gave up six hits and five runs before John Ripke came in for relief to notch the win. In two innings of work Ripke surrendered one hit and one walk while striking out two.
Schultz collected three hits which included two doubles and an RBI while Lanphier and Hammel each added a pair of hits. Lanphier and teammate Ayers finished with two RBI apiece.
Junior Xyan Adkisson dominated the mound in game two. In six innings of work he held ONU scoreless and allowed one hit while striking out five for the win. His supporting cast delivered at the plate as the Foresters recorded 11 hits. Brandon Van Matre led the way with three hits and an RBI while Klopfenstein finished with two hits and drove in another.
Ayers collected his third RBI of the day in the bottom of the first with a single to short to give HU the early 1-0 lead. Huntington struck again in the fourth. Adams doubled to center to open the inning and Van Matre followed up with a single to right to set the stage. With runners on first and third, Hammel’s fielder choice allowed Adams to touch home to extend the lead to 2-0.
After chasing two ONU pitchers from the mound, the Foresters continued to have their way at the plate. In the bottom of the sixth, Dustin Rutledge and Klopfenstein each picked up run-scoring hits to stretch HU’s lead to 4-0. The Tigers would get one back in the top of the seventh but it was too little too late as Huntington held on for their second win of the day.
"We played well today. The first game we overcame a 5 run deficit late in the game against an outstanding pitcher. We made adjustments at the plate and, after a slow start, our pitching kept us in the game. In game two we got a dominating performance from Xyan. He was outstanding for six innings."
"We have seen very good teams the last two days and we have played pretty well. We are not where we are hoping to be, but we are making progress."
The Foresters have the day off before facing Trinity International University on Wednesday.