St. Norbert escapes Central baseball squad in ninth inning
AUBURNDALE, FLA.—Central College produced the ninth-inning fireworks but it was St. Norbert College (Wis.) that walked away with an 8-7 baseball win Thursday.
Central (6-2) trailed 7-5 entering the ninth inning and had been held scoreless the three previous frames. But center fielder Sam Stetzel (senior, Perry) drew a walk and reached third when shortstop Robbie Rushing (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) belted a double. Stetzel scored on an error which also allowed second basemen Adam Ariola (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) on base. Third baseman Jordan Judkins (junior, Marshalltowon) sacrificed to advance Ariola and Rushing into scoring position. First baseman Seth Carson (senior, Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove South HS) followed with a squeeze bunt to bring in Rushing, the game-tying run.
“We executed our bunts well to get the game-tying run across,” coach Adam Stevens said. “Give our guys credit for finding a way to tie the game. That’s one quality we’ve continued to see—our players never give up no matter what the situation.”
But St. Norbert (4-2) forced a ground out to end the scoring rally. At the plate, the Green Knights used a double, a sacrifice and two intentional walks before ripping the walk-off single for the win.
The Dutch led 5-1 after four innings but St. Norbert erupted for a four-run fifth inning, capitalizing on four Central walks with two hits, to tie the score.
“Against a good team like St. Norbert you can’t give up many freebies,” Stevens said. “We walked too many batters and they made us pay. That’s what good teams do.”
Junior Judson McKown (Maple Plain, Minn., Orono HS) took the loss on the mound. He entered the game in the fifth and gave up eight hits and three earned runs in 4.1 innings. McKown (0-1) struck out three, walked three and picked off a baserunner.
“We put Judson on the mound in a tough situation and he kept us in the game with a chance to win,” Stevens said. “That’s what we want from our relievers.”
Ryan Goetzinger (senior, Mason City) threw the first four innings, allowing four earned runs on one hit while fanning three and walking five.
“Ryan looked really good in the first four innings before he kind of lost it in the fifth,” Stevens said.
Left fielder Michael Jontz (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) went 3-for-5 and scored two runs. Judkins was 2-for-4 with two RBI and designated hitter Andrew O’Toole (junior, Des Moines, Lincoln HS) was 2-for-5 with an RBI.
“We played a little sloppy today but we have to learn from it and move on,” Stevens said. “We play another good team tomorrow.”
The Dutch face Benedictine (Ill.) Friday in their last game of spring break competition. It’s the first game for the Eagles, who had three games canceled last weekend. First pitch is set for 9 a.m. (EST).