Huntington, Ind. - The Forester baseball team (14-19, 9-7) split a pair of games with Bethel College at Forester Glen Park on Thursday to hold the fourth spot in conference play. After grabbing a 6-3 win, the Foresters dug themselves a hole they couldn't recover from in the nightcap dropping a 7-6 decision.
Ethan Tribolet earned the win on the mound for HU in game one as he scattered three hits, five walks and three runs over six innings with eight strikeouts. Brian Kirschbaum recorded the final out to pick up the save.
Eric Schultz was hit by a pitch to open up play for the Foresters and eventually came around to score on a double by Jamon Hammel, who eventually touched home thanks to a Justin Branock single to give HU the early 2-0 lead. The Foresters scored a run in the third and fourth innings to extend the lead to 4-0 before the Pilots’ designated hitter Garrett Curless sent one over the right field fence to pull Bethel within one at 4-3. Branock gave HU some breathing room when he sent one long in the bottom of the fifth. Jordan Klopfenstein’s sacrifice fly later that inning pushed the lead to 6-3 as the Foresters cruised to the win.
Branock finished with two of the Foresters’ seven hits and drove in two runs to pace the Foresters at the plate.
Game two did not go well for starting pitcher Dan Holcomb who lasted less than an inning and gave up four runs on two hits and three walks. The visitors added another run in the second to push their to 5-0 before the Foresters finally got on the board on Klopfenstein’s RBI-single in the bottom of the frame. Not ready to throw in the towel just yet, Branock logged his second dinger of the night, this time a three-run blast to left to cut the lead to 6-3. The Pilots built the lead to 7-3 with a solo run in the fifth but once again HU scrapped and fought their way back to keep things interesting in the sixth. Schultz led off with a single, Blake Ayers doubled to left-center and Hammel singled to set the table. After Schultz came around to score on a fielder’s choice, Ayers scored on a Pilot error to pull the Foresters within one but their comeback was cut short as the Pilots made the necessary plays to hold on for the 7-6 win.
Branock was the backbone of HU’s offensive finishing with a homer, four RBI and a run scored. Schultz added two hits in the losing effort for Huntington.
The Foresters face Bethel again on Saturday when they travel to Mishawaka for a doubleheader at 1:00 p.m.