Another late-inning rally foils Dutch baseball team
STORM LAKE—The Central College baseball team had No. 25-ranked Buena Vista University on the ropes late in the second game of its Iowa Conference doubleheader once again, but a two-run eighth inning allowed the Beavers to escape with 7-6 and 6-5 victories Monday.
Despite being relatively even statistically, the Beavers (18-4 overall, 7-3 conference) completed the four-game sweep of the Dutch (11-10 overall, 3-7 conference), winning each of the final three games by a single run.
“To lose three one-run games in a row is tough,” coach Adam Stevens said. “All three games could have gone either way. Buena Vista is a great team with a great pitching staff. One mistake here or there can be the difference in the game.
“We gave it everything we had today, but BV played a little bit better than us.”
Central has now lost seven games by two runs or less.
In the series finale, the Dutch opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with a RBI-single by left fielder Zach Zylstra (junior, Pella, Pella Christian HS). Following a groundout and a runner being thrown out at the plate, Central added three more runs on RBI-singles by center fielder Dakotah Wolken (sophomore, Dillon, East Marshall HS) and third baseman Zach Brown (freshman, Cedar Rapids, Xavier HS) and a bases-loaded walk by second baseman Adam Ariola (senior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS). The rally ended with another Dutch base runner being thrown out at home.
“We lost some tough games, so we tried to be super aggressive and make some things happen,” said Stevens. “We scored one run on a play at the plate, but they made some good defensive plays. Sometimes you get thrown out. That’s how it goes.”
Central added another run in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Jordan Judkins (senior, Marshalltown).
But Buena Vista cut the deficit to one run in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four runs on two hits and one Dutch error. The misplay resulted in two unearned runs.
“They took advantage of our mistakes and we had the opportunity to score more early and didn’t,” said Stevens. “Those things can come back to haunt you and they did today.”
The scoring stalled for four innings before the Beavers broke through for the final two runs in the bottom of the eighth, which proved to be the difference.
Brown, Zylstra and first baseman Grant Seuferer (senior, Milo, Southeast Warren HS) each recorded two-hit performances, with four Dutch players driving in one run apiece and five players scoring once.
Starting pitcher Matt Schissel (sophomore, Rock Island, Ill., Alleman HS) allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts over 7.0 innings. Andy Carr (junior, Rockford, Ill., Lutheran HS) picked up the loss in relief.
“Matt is doing some really good things on the mound,” said Stevens. “He kept a good team at bay and gave us a chance to win. But the Beavers got the big hit when they needed it. That was the difference in the game.”
Buena Vista’s center fielder Neil Marshall and shortstop Ryan Titman each had two-hit games, with Marshall tallying two RBIs and Titman tallying two runs scored. Lucas Hadaway picked up the win in relief.
In the opener, Buena Vista scored five runs over the first two innings and never trailed despite a furious Dutch rally. Central scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, but the Beavers held on for the narrow decision.
Zylstra and Seuferer tallied two-hit games, with five different Dutch players driving in a run and six different players touching home plate.
Starting pitcher Ryan Dusil (senior, Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS) allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and four walks over 4.1 innings before being relieved by Mark Schroeder (sophomore, Chariton), who did not allow a run the rest of the way.
Four Beavers had two hits apiece, with two of those players scoring two runs each. Designated hitter Jeremy Lambert tallied three RBIs. Cam Beatty picked up the win in relief as Buena Vista’s starter was chased after 4.0 innings.
“I’m glad we play Tuesday,” Stevens said. “It’d be tough to sit on this series for a week. We have to get back at it tomorrow and compete like we did this weekend.
“This series showed us we can compete with anyone, but we aren’t playing for moral victories. We want to win games. And we need to start winning some of those close ones.”
The Dutch face a short turnaround as they travel to Indianola for Tuesday’s doubleheader against Simpson College (13-9 overall, 6-6 conference). Central swept the Storm in its 2014 home openers 8-4 and 8-1 last Tuesday, as Robbie Rushing (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) and Schissel each hurled a complete game.