2012 Iowa Conference champions
TUCSON, ARIZ.—The Central College baseball team swept its opening Tucson Invitational Games with 4-3 and 9-4 victories over Dordt College and Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.) at the Kino Sports Complex Friday afternoon.
Despite the fact that Dordt (7-5) was on the tail end of its trip and Central (3-2) had just arrived in the Grand Canyon State, the Dutch matched the Defenders’ energy and tallied the one-run result in the opener.
“It was an exciting game,” coach Adam Stevens said. “I was worried about being ready to play after a long day of travel, but we put together a solid ballgame. Dordt is a quality team and it was nice to win a close one to start the trip.”
Central scored three runs in the third inning and the game-winner in the eighth when a run scored after junior infielder Kirby Coppess (Urbandale) was hit by a pitch. Senior pitcher Judson McKown (Independence, Minn., Orono HS) came on in relief in the eighth and navigated around a leadoff double in the ninth to record the win.
Sophomore pitcher Dakotah Wolken (Dillon, East Marshall HS) delivered 6.1 quality innings on the mound, but left with a no decision. Shortstop Jordan Judkins (senior, Marshalltown) and second baseman Adam Ariola (senior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) delivered at the plate, tallying three hits apiece to combine for six of Central’s seven.
“It was Dakotah’s first career start and it was outstanding,” said Stevens. “He kept Dordt off balance, threw a lot of strikes and competed hard. It was nice to see him pitch well.
“Jordan and Adam did a great job setting the table at the top of our lineup and getting on base. It’s a good sign for us.”
Judkins had a triple and two runs batted in, while Ariola had a double and one RBI.
Dordt scored two in the second and one in the fourth on nine hits.
It was more of the same in the nightcap, as the Dutch used a seven-run second inning to top the Vikings (1-7) by five runs. Central had seven total hits and benefited from five bases on balls in the second frame, including three that scored runs, in the win.
Senior designated hitter Robbie Rushing (West Des Moines, Valley HS), fresh off of his D3baseball.com Team of the Week honor, produced another solid game at the dish with two hits and three RBIs. Moving from the mound to the grass, Wolken started in center field and didn’t miss a beat with two hits and one run scored.
“Robbie had another good game for us offensively,” Stevens said. “Dakotah started and played as well in the outfield as he did on the mound.”
Senior pitcher Ryan Dusil (Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS) added a winning effort on the hill, allowing one run on three hits and two walks over 7.0 innings with four strikeouts. It was the type of performance Stevens wanted to see following last weekend’s tough outing.
Bethany Lutheran did not get on the board until after Dusil left the game.
“Ryan was outstanding today,” said Stevens. “It was great to see him find his form.”
Stevens also noted the defensive play of the entire infield and the team’s improvement over the past week, saying the team played better and that these early-season games are important in building chemistry and momentum.
“We’ve improved a lot from our first weekend to today and hopefully we continue to do so over the course of the season.”
The Dutch return to the diamond Saturday for a 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) showdown with Macalester College (Minn.). The Scots opened their season Friday against Marian (Wis.).