2012 Iowa Conference champions
PELLA — Central College found its extra-inning magic once again, capturing a 5-4, 11-inning win over Luther College in an Iowa Conference baseball doubleheader sweep. The Dutch raced to a 1-0 shutout in the nightcap.
Freshman designated hitter Erik Sipes (Hudson, Ill., Normal West HS) broke through the Norse defense in the final inning, blasting his first career hit, a double to the warning track down the left-field line. Jake Effron (sophomore, Glendale, Ariz., North Pointe Prep HS) entered the game as a pinch runner and advanced to third when catcher Max Seeman (senior, Panora, Panorama HS) bunted along the third baseline. Second baseman Adam Ariola (sophomore, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) delivered the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
“It was just a tough day to score,” coach Adam Stevens said. “It was really cold and the winds were blowing in. It was going to come down to who found a hole and we found a couple there in the 11th.”
Judson McKown (sophomore, Maple Plain, Minn., Orono HS) was the game-winner on the mound and held the Norse scoreless through four extra frames, scattering three hits. He walked two and struck out two, improving to 5-1. Joel Pulliam (senior, Des Moines, Lincoln HS) had the start and yielded eight hits and four runs, two earned, while walking four and striking out eight.
“Judson came in and just did an outstanding job,” Stevens said. “He’s such a competitor and he’s a good pitcher and he’s been doing it for us all year.”
The Dutch held a 3-0 lead going into the fifth inning before Luther battled back with two runs. Central added a tally in its half of the inning but the Norse sent the game into extra frames in the seventh, scoring two runs on four hits.
“Give Luther (11-14 overall, 4-7 conference) credit for coming back,” Stevens said. “They really competed today. They’re well-coached and they don’t make mistakes on defense.”
Sipes also scored the game-winning run in the nightcap. He singled to right field and reached second on a groundout. Shortstop Mike Furlong (senior, Davenport, Assumption HS) drove in the run with a double down the left-field line.
“Erik has had a great couple weeks of practice and earned his way into the lineup,” Stevens said. “He showed it today and did great.”
Hurler Dirk Lindaman (junior, Ankeny) tossed a three-hit shutout to improve to 5-0. He struck out three and faced only 22 batters.
“Dirk is one of our fiercest competitors,” Stevens said. “I always love to give him the ball. He had good stuff today and our defense played pretty solid behind him.”
Central, which improved to 22-5 overall and 12-2 in the league, has won every one of its seven extra-inning games.
The squads have a quick turnaround, returning to the field at 10 a.m. Saturday to complete the three-game series before afternoon thunderstorms are expected to arrive. Live stats and a video webstream of the nine-inning game can be accessed via www.central.edu/athletics.