2012 Iowa Conference champions
PELLA—Central College twice rallied to pull out an Iowa Conference baseball sweep Saturday over the University of Dubuque, 5-3, 4-1.
The Dutch captured all four wins in the series after 1-0, 4-3 decisions Friday and improved to 12-5 overall with a 4-2 league record. Dubuque slipped to 3-13 overall with a 1-7 conference mark.
Dubuque jumped to a 3-0 lead in the opener with runs in the first, third and fourth innings. Central answered in the fourth with a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line from right fielder Andrew O’Toole (junior, Des Moines, Lincoln HS).
Trailing 3-2, the Dutch brought home three runs in the sixth. Designated hitter Robbie Rushing (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS), who had a hot bat going 4-for-5 for the day, singled to get the inning started. Pinch runner Jake Effron (junior, Glendale, Ariz., North Pointe Prep HS) advanced to third on a sacrifice from third baseman Adam Ariola (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS), who reached on an error. Effron scored on a fielder’s choice on at bat from catcher Jace Ahrendsen (junior, Clarence, North Cedar HS).
“Jake came in and made a great play to score at home,” coach Adam Stevens said. “It was really a team effort today and that play was as important as any.”
Center fielder Sam Stetzel (senior, Perry) continued the attack with a shot to center-field to score Ariola and Ahrendsen scored on another single to left field from first baseman Seth Carson (senior, Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove South HS).
“Both teams battled, all four games this weekend, but we got some players on base late in the game and made things happen,” Stevens said.
Senior Dirk Lindaman (Ankeny) pushed his record to 3-1 on the mound, giving up two earned runs on eight hits with one strikeout and no walks.
“Dirk, along with all of our pitchers today, did a great job,” Stevens said. “They competed well, didn’t walk batters, got ahead in the count and battled with players on base.”
Central jumped ahead in the second inning of the nightcap when Rushing scored on a Trent Smith (junior, catcher, Polk City, North Polk HS) single. The Spartans posted single tallies in the third and fourth frames and after a Central run in the sixth, Dubuque led 3-2 with a score in the seventh. Central tied the game, 3-3, in the bottom half of the seventh when second baseman Spencer Gritsch (freshman, Brooklyn, BGM HS), who was hit by a pitch, scored on a groundout.
The Dutch loaded the bases in the eighth after Rushing was hit by a pitch, Ariola singled and Ahrendsen was intentionally walked. Dubuque cut the run at home for its second out, leaving three runners on base. But Stetzel drew a walk to drive in the game-winning run.
Freshman pitcher Mark Schroeder (Chariton) improved to 3-0 after throwing the eighth inning. Central’s starter, Ryan Dusil (junior, Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS) allowed three runs on eight hits. He struck out two and walked two. Junior Judson McKown (Maple Plain, Minn., Orono HS) held the Spartans scoreless in the ninth inning.
Stevens credited Central’s fight for the comeback wins.
“Our players never give up,” he said. “We refocused in the late innings and behind solid defense, came up with the clutch plays.”
Central travels to Indianola Tuesday for a 3:30 p.m. league doubleheader against Simpson College.