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#24 HU headed to Nationals with sweep of Taylor

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UPLAND, Ind. – The #24 Forester baseball team secured a spot at the Opening Round of the NAIA World Series and earned at least a share of the Crossroads League regular season title by sweeping Taylor University, 5-3, 4-1, Saturday afternoon at Winterholter Field. HU needs to win just one of its last four league games to clinch sole possession of the regular season championship.

Huntington is now 27-8 overall, 20-3 in league action while the Trojans drop to 29-18 overall, 17-7 in conference play and into a tie with Marian for second.

HU needed an extra inning to tally the win in game one. With two outs in the eighth, Dalton Combs delivered the game-winner when he singled up the middle to drive in Dylan Henricks who had drawn a base on balls two batters prior. Huntington added an insurance run on the same play via a Trojan throwing error for the final two-run padding.

Taylor threatened in its half of the frame, placing runners on the corners by way of a single and Forester error with just one out. But nothing came to be as Caleb Landrum, who relieved Mason Shinabery with two outs in the seventh, worked the final two outs to wrap up the win.

Landrum was credited with his third victory of the year, tossing the final 1.1 innings to give up just one hit and a walk with one strikeout. Shinabery threw the first 6.2 innings to surrender six hits, three runs, four walks and six strikeouts for the no decision.

The Foresters jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring once in the first and another in the second with both runs being of the unearned variety as HU relied on three hits and then took advantage of Taylor’s shortcomings – two errors, a walk and two wild pitches.

Errors haunted the Trojans again in the seventh as Coach Frame’s crew scored another unearned run by way of a wild throw. Despite TU’s struggle defensively, they still managed to stay within striking distance of their visitors, tying it up at 2-2 in the bottom of the second and knotting things up again in the bottom of the seventh at 3-3 to force the extra frame where Combs finally brought things to an end.

HU outhit Taylor 10-7 with Combs and Mike Crowley each recording two hits and an RBI for the Foresters.

DJ Moore and Tarrin Beachy teamed up on the mound to dispose of the Trojans in the nightcap. Moore earned the win, tossing the first six innings and giving up just three hits, one run and three walks while striking out six, before Beachy pitched an inning of scoreless relief to post the save.

Taylor’s lone run came in the fifth, but only after HU had already logged three runs an inning earlier. The Foresters added one more to their total in the sixth as the cherry on the top of a game that was never in question.

Errors were again TU’s nemesis as all four of HU’s runs proved unearned compliments of three Taylor blunders. A misplayed grounder with two outs in the fourth loaded the bases and kept the frame alive for HU. Andy Roser made the Trojans pay as he cranked out a double down the right field line to drive in all three runners.

The final run eventually came by way of Henrick’s RBI-single but was proceeded by a hit batter, wild throw and walk.

The Foresters hit the road again on Monday for a make-up game with Indiana Wesleyan at 7:00 p.m.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.