HUNTINGTON, Ind. - After dropping a 6-3 decision in game one of a doubleheader with Indiana Wesleyan University (14-12-1, 9-3), the HU baseball team bounced back to score three runs in each of its final two innings of the nightcap to pull out a 9-6 victory.
The Foresters split the four-game season series with the Wildcats and move to 6-14 overall, 6-4 in Crossroads play.
Fueled by its upperclassmen, Huntington pieced together three three-run innings to out-slug the Wildcats in the nightcap. The Foresters hammered out 12 hits in the contest, with seniors Adam Christner, Jamon Hammel, Josh Lanphier and junior Blake Ayers each pounding out a pair of hits.
Ayers and Lanphier combined for five RBI while Brian Kirschbaum chipped in a hit and drove in two runs.
HU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in their first at bats. After taking advantage of back-to-back IWU errors, Ayers came up with his second run-scoring double of the day and Kirschbaum followed up with a two-run shot into right to widen the gap.
The Wildcats rallied to take the lead by scoring a trio of runs in the second and two more in the third to surge ahead 5-3. But it was all Huntington after that as they outscored their visitors 6-1 the rest of the way to collect the win.
The Foresters heated up at the plate in the fifth. Jordan Klopfenstein started things off by drawing a base on balls. Lanphier and Ayers each registered run-scoring singles and two batters later, Bowers knocked in the inning’s last run to edge his team in front 6-5.
Huntington picked up where they left off in the sixth. After three consecutive hits including an RBI-single by Hammel, Lanphier and Ayers cashed in on sacrifice flies to account for the final two runs.
Derek McKinney and Kyle Zerfas worked the first five innings and combined to give up four hits, five runs and five walks while striking out seven before Kirschbaum tossed the last two innings for the win. The senior hurler scattered three hits, two walks and one run with one strikeout.
It was a different story in the opener as the Wildcats dominated play, establishing a 6-0 lead through the first five innings before HU finally pieced together a three-run innings in the sixth to cut the advantage in half.
HU collected five hits in the contest with three of those base pokes coming in the bottom of the sixth. After Austin Drummond found his way to first by way of an IWU throwing error, Christner drilled one into left setting the stage for Ayers who doubled in Tyler Ault, Drummond’s pinch-runner, and Christner before coming around to score on a Hammel RBI-single.
Christner finished 2-for-3 from the plate to go along with a stolen base to pace HU offensively.
Blake Hohlbein suffered the loss, giving up six runs, five earned, on seven hits in 3.2 innings on the mound. Brock Gower worked 3.1 innings of scoreless relief.
HU hits the road on Saturday to take on Mount Vernon Nazarene University at 1:00 p.m.