Offensive surge continues for Dutch baseball

Central Dutch Athletics

Central Dutch Athletics

AUBURNDALE, FLORIDA — Another double-digit run total spurred by 16 hits helped the Central College baseball team slam Becker College (Mass.) 11-1 Monday morning.

Despite 10 hits, Central (7-4) succumbed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (N.Y.) 7-5 in the afternoon portion of the twinbill.

Against Becker (3-4), Central had five players register multi-hit games, including a 4-for-6 effort from shortstop Garrett Saunders (junior, Bonaparte, Van Buren HS) and a 3-for-4 outing by first baseman Ryan Bouwman (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS). Right fielder Lucas Farren (freshman, Yorkville, Ill.) and third baseman Kaiden Fielbelkorn (freshman, Brooklyn, BGM HS) each had a pair of hits from the No. 8 and No. 9 spots in the lineup, respectively.

“It was a continuation of what we’ve been doing the last few days,” coach Matt Schirm said. “The guys at the top of the lineup have been really good, but even the guys toward the bottom of the order contributed and that’s big for us.”

The team’s clean-up hitter, Tanner Wood (junior, Pella) normally plays in right field but started on the mound and went all eight innings. He scattered six hits and struck out five, allowing just one run.

“Tanner was awesome today,” Schirm said. “His efficiency was huge because we were a little short on available pitchers today. He was all over the strike zone and had command of all of his pitches.”

Saunders went 3-for-5 against RPI with two doubles and a triple to continue his blistering start to the 2018 campaign. Through 11 games in Florida, Saunders is hitting .600 with 12 extra-base hits and 10 RBIs. He’s also a perfect 12-for-12 on stolen bases and has a .962 fielding percentage.

“It’s been pretty amazing to watch,” Schirm said. “It’s not just his bat because he wreaks havoc on the base path and has played exceptional defense. He’s had an unbelievable start to the season.”

Getting the pitching nod in game two, freshman AJ Pierce (Ankeny, Centennial HS) had a frustrating first inning before settling in. In the opening frame, he allowed six runs on three hits after giving out three walks and two hit-by-pitches before holding the Engineers scoreless the rest of the way.

“AJ had a rough first inning but I was extremely proud with how he responded,” Schirm said. “He threw up four zeros in the second through fifth innings. We took him out because of his pitch count and Rece Martin (sophomore, Des Moines, Saydel HS) came in and kept us in the game.”

The Dutch chipped away at the 6-1 deficit by scoring in the third, sixth, seven, and eighth innings but didn’t even have enough juice to take the victory back.

“I told the team after the game that I think we got better from this game than some of the others recently because it was a fight,” Schirm said. “It’s what we’ll need to help us win conference games here in a couple of weeks.”

Central has three more games left on their Florida trip, starting with a nine-inning affair against Olivet College (Mich.) at noon EST in Auburndale at Lake Myrtle Park.



Posted by on Mar 12 2018. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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