Forester diamond men split opening series

The Huntington University baseball team opened up its season at IU Southeast over Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, March 1, where it split the series, 2-2, with the Grenadiers.

In Friday's opener, Huntington outlasted their hosts, 8-4, in the first game but fell in the second, 5-3.

Senior left-hander John Ripke earned the win on the mound in the first game for HU as he scattered seven hits and four runs over six innings with four strikeouts. Bryce Anderson pitched an inning of scoreless relief.

A Grenadier error set up HU's first run when Shea Beachamp doubled in Blake Ayers who had reached base on a misplayed grounder in the top of the third.

HU exploded for five more runs two innings later to jump out to a 6-0 lead. After run-scoring base pokes by Michael Kempton and Andy Roser and an RBI-groundout by Avery Sneed, Dalton Combs capped things off by knocking in two runs with a double to center.

Beauchamp topped Huntington offensively with a pair of hits and just as many RBI. Combs finished with a hit and drove in two more.

In the nightcap, Huntington pounded out eight hits to the Grenadiers' seven but came up short on the scoreboard as they left nine stranded on base.

Down 2-0 after a stagnant five innings, Huntington's offense came alive. Roser scored on a wild pitch and Henricks hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to tie things up at 2-2 but it was a short-lived deadlock as the hosts answered in their half of the frame with three more runs to re-establish a 5-2 lead.

HU managed to get one back on Sneed's RBI-single in the top of the seventh but came up short as the game ended with two Foresters still on base.

Blake Hohlbein took the loss for Huntington as he gave up seven hits and five runs in 5.2 innings of work. Marc Bowers came in on relief to strike out the final batter.

Sneed and Combs posted two hits apiece.

On Saturday, the Foresters won the opener 3-1 but lost the second game 4-3, in eight innings..

Brock Gower scattered seven hits and allowed one run in a complete game victory in the opener.

After trading runs in the first frame, the Foresters scored a run in the third and fourth to pull away from IU Southeast for the win.

Huntington had a little help in plating all three of its runs. HU's first score came by way of a wild pitch. Two innings later, two Foresters got hit by a pitch to open up the third setting up Henricks' run-scoring fielder's choice while Kempton, who had singled to start the fourth, came around to score on a passed ball to account for HU's final run.

Later that day, HU scored three runs in the first two innings but four errors by the Foresters led to two unearned Grenadier runs, eventually leading to the visitors' 4-3 demise.

Beauchamp registered both of his RBI in the first when he doubled in Ayers and Combs, who had each singled earlier in the frame, for the early 2-0 advantage. Kempton stretched the lead to 3-0 in the next inning on a misplayed grounder but it was all IU Southeast after that.

The Grenadiers scored three runs, two of which were the result of Forester errors, over the next two innings to knot things up at 3-3 by the fourth. It would remain in a stalemate until Josh Beam's walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth.

Four pitchers took the mound for Huntington with Combs being charged with the loss. He faced the final three batters, which included giving up the winning run to Beam. Derek McKinney started for HU and gave up five hits and three runs, only one earned, in 5.1 innings on the mound before Drew McLochlin and Bowers each made brief appearances.