2012 Iowa Conference champions
PELLA—Twice with two outs, second baseman Adam Ariola (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) delivered the clutch hit to help the Central College baseball team outlast Buena Vista University in 10 innings, 2-1, before the Dutch dropped a 10-1 decision in Iowa Conference action Saturday.
The opener was scoreless through five innings until Buena Vista broke through with a run on two singles and a ground out, aided by a hit batter and intentional walk. The Beavers coaxed two outs in the bottom half of frame before Ariola punched a single through the right side. He stole second and crossed the plate on long double on the left-field line by left fielder Zach Zylstra (sophomore, Pella, Pella Christian HS).
Both teams were silent on the scoreboard until the 10th inning when center fielder Sam Stetzel (senior, Perry) belted a single to left field. Designated hitter Robbie Rushing (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) walked before Ariola blasted the walk-off single to left center to score Stetzel and capture the win.
“Adam has had some clutch hits for us all year and he’s one of those guys you want up in those situations,” coach Adam Stevens said.
That made a winner of senior hurler Dirk Lindaman (Ankeny), who pitched all 10 innings. He allowed one run on six hits, walked three and struck out seven. Lindaman improved to 4-3.
“Dirk had an unbelievable effort on the mound,” Stevens said. “He threw strikes and battled and we needed a senior effort like that today.”
Central (17-14 overall, 9-11 conference) outhit Buena Vista 8-6 and played error-free defense, which was key to team’s success.
“In a low-scoring game like that you have to play perfect,” Stevens said. “We did some really good things defensively and found a way to win.”
The Beavers (18-16 overall, 10-12 conference) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the nightcap. Central posted its lone tally in the second inning when Ariola drew a walk and scored on a ground out from shortstop Jordan Judkins (junior, Marshalltown). Buena Vista held Central to two hits and broke open the game with an eight-run fourth inning.
“Buena Vista’s a good offensive team and we held them in check the first three games but they were bound to get hits eventually, and they put them all together in that inning,” Stevens said.
Starting pitcher Michael Jontz (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) took the loss. He gave up four hits and three earned runs in three innings. Jontz (0-2) walked two and struck out one.
The two teams split the grueling four-game series which featured two extra-inning contests.
“We had a great effort from the whole team three out of the four games, but let that fourth game get away from us,” Stevens said. “We showed some good things but left a lot on base. Hopefully we can fix that as we get toward the end of the season.”
Central faces Simpson College Tuesday in its last regular-season home game at A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex field. The Dutch twice rallied for a 6-5, 9-5 sweep against the Storm (11-19 overall, 7-14 conference) April 15.
First pitch is set for 1 p.m. A video webcast and live stats of Tuesday’s doubleheader will be available at www.central.edu/athletics.