TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Earlham College split a tightly contested doubleheader on Friday night at Art Nehf Field to open the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball schedule.
Earlham, the preseason league favorites, captured the opener 7-6. Rose-Hulman, the defending conference champions, scored five runs in the seventh inning to win the nightcap 8-7.
In the opener, Earlham scored once in the sixth and twice in the seventh inning to take a 7-4 lead. Rose-Hulman scored once in the seventh and once in the ninth to close within 7-6, before Matt Mathies recorded the final three outs for the save.
Seven Fightin' Engineers had two hits each to lead a balanced Rose-Hulman offensive effort. David Burnside blasted a home run with two runs scored, and Marcus Wechselberger had two singles, ine run and one RBI to pace the performance.
Other Rose-Hulman players with two hits included Conner Shipley with two singles and one RBI; Zach Trusk with two singles and one RBI; Drew Schnitz with two singles; Koby Close with two singles and one run; and Logan Schiessle with a double, single and one RBI.
The Earlham offense featured seven hits, led by Danny Dopp with two doubles, a single, two runs scored and two RBIs. Eric Elkus and Cody Krumlauf added two hits each.
Howie Smith scattered 15 hits in seven innings to improve to 3-1 on the season with the win for Earlham. Luke Buehler led the Fightin' Engineer performance with three innings and one run allowed with three strikeouts, and starter Cody Sunderhaus added six strikeouts.
In the nightcap, Brian Thomas blasted a three-run home run to cap a five-run seventh inning and lead Rose-Hulman to an 8-7 victory. Thomas finished with two hits, including a double to go along with his round tripper, and three RBIs.
Burnside and Trusk paced a 14-hit Fightin' Engineer offense with three hits each. Burnside had two RBIs and a double, while Trusk was 3-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Shipley contributed two singles and two runs, and Davis Robeson also had two hits and one run.
Ian Grant tossed seven strong innings to earn a no-decision, scattering 10 hits and recording five strikeouts. Clayton Mayfield allowed just one earned run in two innings with one strikeout out of the bullpen to pick up the win.
Dopp led the Earlham offense again with three hits and four RBIs. Brennan Laird also had three hits and three RBIs for the Quarkers.
Earlham stands 6-5 and 1-1 in league play, while Rose-Hulman is 3-11 and 1-1 in conference games. The series concludes with a single game on Saturday at noon.