Despite an early lead in each of its games over the weekend, on Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 17, the Huntington University baseball team couldn't hang on as host Martin Methodist College leaned on clutch hitting to record a three-game sweep over the Foresters, 8-3, 12-3, 10-7.
In game one on Saturday, Huntington, 0-10, raced out to a 2-0 lead in its opening at bats. Adam Christner started things off with a double to deep center before coming in to score on a sacrifice fly by Josh Lanphier. Jordan Klopfenstein, who had singled earlier in the inning, also came around to score two batters later on an RBI-single by Jamon Hammel.
The RedHawks, 18-9, fired back in their half of the frame, hammering out five hits and taking advantage of two Forester miscues to take a 4-2 lead. It was all Martin Methodist after that as they outscored their visitors 4-1 over the final six innings to claim the 8-3 win.
The Foresters managed just five hits after the first frame, which included Bryce Anderson's run-scoring double in the fifth. Huntington finished with eight hits, two of which came from Klopfenstein, in a game where eight Foresters were left stranded.
Martin Methodist pounded out 12 hits against Huntington losing pitcher Brian Kirschbaum to score eight runs, seven earned, in the game's first 5.2 innings.
The nightcap was equally as frustrating for a Huntington team still looking for its first win of the season as it once again jumped out to a 2-0 lead only to see it slip away.
Christner jumpstarted the rally by roping one deep down the right field line, then stole second before scampering home on a throwing error. Two outs and two base runners later, a passed ball allowed Klopfenstein to plate Huntington's second run of the inning.
After starting pitcher Cody Walters worked a 1-2-3 inning in the first, the wheels fell off in the next frame as the RedHawks batted around to explode for seven runs and seize control of the game.
Despite getting one back in the top of the forth on a Drew Adams' sacrifice fly, Huntington was never able to recover.
Walters took the loss for Huntington, giving up nine runs, eight earned, on six hits and three walks while striking out one in three innings of work. Brock Gower came on in relief to work the final 2.1 innings.
Christner tallied two of the Foresters' five hits while Adams logged Huntington's only RBI.
Sunday's final matchup of the series saw the RedHawks mount their third dramatic comeback of the weekend to claim the 10-7 win.
The nine-inning battle was a slugfest as both teams combined for 23 hits, with the RedHawks owning a 14-9 advantage.
Huntington opened up an early lead with a little help from Mount Mercy pitcher Kerry Workman who set the stage with a walk, hit batter and wild pitch. With runners in scoring position, Kirschbaum and Blake Ayers each tallied an RBI on a ground out and single respectively to give their team a 2-0 lead.
The RedHawks got one back in their half of the frame but Christner countered in the top of the second with his third career homer, a three-run blast over the left field fence on a 2-0 count, to extend the lead to 5-1.
Martin Methodist closed to within two at 5-3 in the third but thanks to a pair of RBI-sacrifice flies by Lanphier and Ayers, Huntington headed into the bottom of the seventh with a comfortable 7-3 lead.
However, the RedHawks came to life in the seventh, pounding out four hits and taking advantage of two Forester errors to piece together four runs to deadlock the score at 7-7.
Martin Methodist went on to crack the game open in the next inning when they used a two-out rally to score the game's final three runs.
Christner finished 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI.
Five different Foresters took the mound, with Xyan Adkisson taking the loss. He worked 1.1 innings, which included the RedHawks' seventh inning score spree, and gave up three runs, two earned, on three hits and one walk.