2012 Iowa Conference champions
JACKSONVILLE, ILL. — The Central College baseball team brought its defense out of hibernation in its first outdoor appearance of 2014 but Grinnell College generated some late offense to secure a 3-1 season-opening win Saturday evening.
Pitcher Judson McKown (senior, Maple Plain, Minn., Orono HS) carried a shutout into the eighth inning before surrendering a two-run, two-out homer to Grinnell designated hitter Eli Freese.
“Both teams played great defense, which is pretty remarkable since neither team had even been outside yet,” coach Adam Stevens said. There was just one error in the game.
McKown was replaced in the ninth inning by junior Andy Carr (Rockford, Ill., Rockford Lutheran HS), who yielded one run.
Stevens liked the effort of his starting hurler.
“Judson was lights out in the first seven innings,” he said. “He threw a great game. His pitch count was really low after seven, so we put him out there in the eighth.”
McKown gave up a one-out walk in the eighth, sandwiched by a pair of strikeouts, before Freese hit the first pitch of his at-bat for the tiebreaking homer.
Central got its run in the sixth inning when Jordan Judkins (senior, Marshalltown) led off with a triple and was doubled home by Robbie Rushing (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS).
“Obviously it was not the result we wanted but give credit to the Grinnell defense,” Stevens said. “It was outstanding. They made some great plays and absolutely deserved to win.”
The game was added to the Central schedule earlier in the week in an attempt to see action as a fierce winter refuses to relinquish its hold on the Midwest. Temperatures were far from ideal, hovering in the mid-30s.
“It was just good to be outside and play,” Stevens said. “It’s nice to get a few games in before our spring trip (to Arizona March 14-20).”
Central and Grinnell meet again Sunday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader, this time in nearby Springfield, Ill., on a high school field with artificial turf, assuring a dry field, if not a warm one, although sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s are forecast.
“We hope we can put two good games together,” Stevens said.
at Jacksonville, Ill.
Grinnell 000 000 021—3 5 0
Central 000 001 000—1 5 1
Pahos, Kelley and Schaeffer; McKown, Carr and Ahrendsen. W—Pahos; L—McKown. HR—G: Freese. Grinnell 1-0; Central 0-1.