TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball team won a pair of one-run thrillers on Friday afternoon at Art Nehf Field to take a 1.5 game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to an early lead in the opener before holding on to win 11-10. In game two, Bluffton rallied with three runs in the ninth inning that were answered by three Rose-Hulman runs in the bottom half in a 7-6 Fightin' Engineer victory.
The second game also marked the 700th win at Rose-Hulman for head coach Jeff Jenkins. His career record stands at 745-495-2, with his Fightin' Engineer record at 700-430-1. Rose-Hulman had only won 440 games in over 80 years of baseball prior to the arrival of coach Jenkins on campus.
In the opener, Rose-Hulman scored six runs in the second and three in the seventh to build a 10-7 lead, before Bluffton scored twice in the eighth and one in the ninth to close within 11-10. With the tying run on third base and no outs, Stone Brogan forced Bluffton batters to fly out to shallow right field, ground out to shortstop and fly out to center field to secure the victory.
Sophomore David Burnside led the Rose-Hulman offense with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored. Conner Shipley and Davis Robeson added two-run singles to help spark the six-run second inning that put Rose-Hulman ahead early 7-1.
Bluffton chipped away to close within 11-10 in the late innings. Luke Hickey and Austin Prosser had three hits each, and Blake Fox added two hits and three RBIs for the Beavers.
Junior Ian Grant picked up the victory with six strong innings for Rose-Hulman. Grant scattered nine hits with four strikeouts. Chuck Alexa recorded six outs, before Brogan earned his first college save.
In the nightcap, Rose-Hulman scored three times in the ninth inning to capture a 7-6 win. Rose-Hulman trailed 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, before scoring a pair of runs to take a 4-3 lead. Bluffton answered with three runs of its own to capture a 6-4 edge.
Logan Schiessle started the Rose-Hulman ninth with a single and Ryan Stachowski hit a double off the left field fence to put the tying runs in scoring position. With one out, Robeson doubled home Schiessle and Stachowski to knot the score at 6-6.
After a flyout advanced Robeson to third, Drew Schnitz provided his second walk-off RBI of the week with a game winning single. Schnitz also drew a bases loaded ninth inning walk in Rose-Hulman's 7-6 win over Franklin on Tuesday.
Robeson led the game two offense with three hits and three RBIs. Stachowski entered the middle of the game as a pinch hitter and smashed two doubles with two RBIs. Burnside also had two more hits in the nightcap.
Senior Cody Sunderhaus tossed a strong 8.1 innings to keep Rose-Hulman in the game. Sunderhaus allowed just one earned run until the ninth inning and allowed just four hits in his 8.1 innings of work. Justin Dooley recorded the final two outs to get the Engineers out of the ninth and would pick up the win after Rose-Hulman's rally.
Rose-Hulman improved to 10-4 in HCAC play and remains in first place in the HCAC standings, while Bluffton dropped to 4-10 in league games. The series finale is scheduled for noon on Saturday.