DC Loses Heartbreaker in Bottom of the Ninth at Rose-Hulman
Defiance (17-11, 10-8 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman (13-18, 10-7 HCAC)
4/26/2013 | Terre Haute, IN | Attendance: 250
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Yellow Jacket baseball program traveled to Rose-Hulman this weekend for a pivotal Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference three-game series with major postseason implications. After a back-and-forth game, the Engineers struck last in their final at-bat to secure a 9-8 walk-off win.
The Friday evening affair began with both starting pitchers tossing two scoreless innings before either team’s offense could get on the board.
In the top of the third, the Yellow Jackets capitalized on a Rose-Hulman miscue, as Chris Donese reached and advanced to second on an error with two outs. The next DC batter, Darin Waterman, followed Donese by lacing a single into left field to give the Jackets the game’s first run.
The home side responded immediately in the bottom half of the frame. The Engineers used three hits to score two runs and take a 2-1 lead.
After a scoreless fourth, the Purple and Gold reclaimed the lead in the away half of the fifth. The DC leadoff man Aaron Helland drew a walk and then stole second to set the table for Defiance. Donese then ripped an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Gary Levengood drew a walk that scored Donese to put the Jackets back on top at 3-2.
Like Defiance’s first lead, the Yellow Jackets’ advantage was once again short-lived. Rose-Hulman plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth off timely hits from Patrick Kilma and Bobby Newman to put the hosts back on top 5-3.
The Purple and Gold dug in during the top of the sixth and showed its resilience by responding with four runs to give DC a 7-5 lead, its largest of the game. The Jackets received a big bases loaded two RBI base-knock through the right side from Pat Masopust to tie the game at five runs apiece before Joel Musser and Levengood put them up by two with RBIs of their own.
Aaron Patterson entered the game in relief in the sixth inning and shut down the Engineer bats in the sixth and seventh before Rose-Hulman got to the reliever in the eighth after back-to-back two-out singles.
Defiance turned to closer Alex Schomaeker to finish the eighth, but the Engineers’ Warren Whithaus managed to knot the game up at 7-7 before the Jackets could escape the inning.
In the final frame, the Purple and Gold got its leadoff man aboard due to a walk to Murphy, who advanced to third off groundouts from Ryan Kohlhofer and Helland. Like many times before in the evening, Donese stepped up with two outs and delivered for the Yellow Jackets. The sophomore roped a double into left center for his fourth hit of the night to drive in his second run and give DC an 8-7 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Defiance managed to retire the leadoff hitter, as Schomaeker delivered a strikeout before the next batter singled to put the tying run on first. After another strikeout, DC was one out away from taking the opener, but it was not meant to be on this night. Donald Stopka hit a single through the right side to give Rose-Hulman runners on the corners and then Jordan Chipka ended the game with a walk-off double just past the diving glove of Joel Musser to end the game with a final of 9-8
With the loss, the Jackets are entrenched in a fight for the fourth and final place in the HCAC Tournament. The Purple and Gold’s conference mark is now 10-8, tied with Transylvania for the fourth spot. Rose-Hulman moves to 10-7 in the Heartland with the win for third place and Bluffton is just a half-game of back of DC at 10-9.
The Jackets and Engineers meet on Saturday afternoon for a doubleheader to decide the series. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.