By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
LAGRANGE, Ga. – After producing a combined 34 runs and 31 hits in a doubleheader sweep the day before, No. 2/3 LaGrange (5-2, 0-0 CCS) managed just five hits as Rose-Hulman (1-2, 0-0 HCAC) salvaged the third game of the series in NCAA Division III baseball action on Sunday, February 26.
Junior outfielder Rhett Mixon (Loganville, Ga.) engineered a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as he was plunked and promptly stole second. Following a second straight hit batter, senior third baseman Joe Ruth (Chiefland, Fla.) shot a single through the right side for that one run lead. With two on and no one out that rally would sputter over the next two batters with a strike out and a double play.
After combining for five runs in a doubleheader loss the day before, RHIT would not only get on the scoreboard in the third but would take the lead without benefit of a hit. Jonathan Oliger walked to lead off the inning and Blake Deckard reached on a sacrifice bunt when the ball was thrown away, allowing him to go all the way to third and Oliger to come around to tie it up. They would take a 2-1 lead the very next batter when Kade Kline grounded out to second, scoring Deckard.
They would add a third score in the fourth following a leadoff single, fielder's choice, error and steal of third before Peter Rogers singled home Andy Krajecki to make it 4-1. It would then stay that way until the seventh when Dalton Busboom took advantage of a pair of walks when he singled home Kline and Krajecki singled to left to load the bases for the Fightin' Engineers.
Connor O'Connell would then take one for the team and drive in a run with a hit by pitch and Colton Brown would follow with a bases loaded walk to push to a 6-1 advantage. The Panthers would get one back in the home half of the inning behind a pair of errors but could only add one more in the bottom of the ninth as Rose-Hulman closed out the 6-3 victory.
Rogers led the way for the Fightin' Engineers as he went 2-for-4 with a walk and RBI and Krajecki was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Brown, Kline and Busboom each added solo RBIs to round out the offense and Brett Borcherding threw the first 4.1 innings, allowing just four hits and an earned run while Josh Erpenbeck hurled the remaining 4.2, surrendering one hit and one earned run for the victory to move to 1-0.
Sophomore outfielder Jorge Fragoso (East Point, Ga.) led LaGrange with a 2-for-4 day that included a double and RBI and Ruth and junior second baseman Easton Willis (Valdosta, Ga.) each had solo RBIs. Junior Ethan Fry (Kennesaw, Ga.) started and went the first six innings, striking out seven and allowing three runs – but none earned – while scattering five hits. He falls to 1-1 on the season.
LaGrange doesn't take a break as they welcome Michigan-based Adrian to Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium on Tuesday, February 28. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. under the lights.