2012 Iowa Conference champions
PELLA—Senior pitcher Robbie Rushing (West Des Moines, Valley HS) and sophomore pitcher Matt Schissel (Rock Island, Ill., Alleman HS) each hurled compete games as the Central College baseball team swept its Iowa Conference doubleheader against Simpson College 8-4 and 8-1 Tuesday afternoon.
Rushing allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in Central’s (11-6, 3-3 conference) seven-inning home opener, while Schissel silenced Simpson’s (10-7, 4-4 conference) bats to the tune of one run on six hits and no walks with six strikeouts in the nine-inning nightcap.
“Robbie’s performance was outstanding,” coach Adam Stevens said. “He’s done a nice job on the mound. He’s worked hard and he is improving. Robbie is a great hitter, but also has a lot of potential as a pitcher. He did a great job.
“Matt’s complete game was really valuable. It’s important to get good starting pitching when we have a bunch of games mashed together. We got it today.”
Rushing also led the Dutch at the plate, finishing 5-for-8 on the day with four doubles, four runs batted in and two runs scored.
“We competed today and did some things we didn’t do well last weekend,” said Stevens. “The four games at Dubuque were tough. We played well and did some good things, but the games didn’t go our way. The good news was that we were able to play again right away. We talked about some things as a team and came ready to play.
“Hopefully we can build off of this as we continue through the conference schedule.”
In Tuesday’s opener, the Dutch scored six total runs in the first two innings while recording only one hit. Central’s first two batters were hit by pitches, with one scoring on a sacrifice fly by Rushing. The Dutch later added runs on a wild pitch and an error.
Central added a run on an RBI groundout by senior second baseman Adam Ariola (Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) before tallying its first hit of the game, a two-run single by freshman third baseman Zach Brown (Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS).
Simpson scored one in the first and two in the third, but offenses stalled for both teams until the sixth inning when the Dutch added two more—one on a double by Rushing and another on a single by Ariola.
The Storm added one more in the top of the seventh, but it was a complete-game win for Rushing, who improved to 2-0 on the season.
In total, Central scored eight runs on six hits, two walks, four hit by pitches and two Simpson errors. The Storm tallied seven hits and three walks but only plated four.
Rushing, Ariola and Brown finished with two RBIs apiece, while senior shortstop Jordan Judkins (Marshalltown) crossed the plate three times.
Simpson’s left fielder Jake Barr was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and center fielder Brett Crable was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI. Starting pitcher Adam Richman also went the distance, striking out seven.
In the nightcap the Dutch took advantage of seven Simpson errors en route to the seven-run victory.
Central scored one in the first inning on a double by Rushing, which Simpson equaled in the top half of the second. The Dutch then scored at least once in every inning from the fourth on, totaling seven unanswered and putting the game out of reach.
Brown plated Ariola in the fourth inning after reaching on an error and later scored on a single by junior left fielder Zach Zylstra (Pella, Pella Christian HS). Sophomore center fielder Dakotah Wolken (Dillon, East Marshall HS), who made a handful of running catches on the day, scored in the fifth on a single by Rushing, while senior right fielder Andrew O’Toole (Des Moines, Lincoln HS) scored in the sixth on a Storm error. Rushing and Ariola each scored in the seventh before Judkins scored on a double play in the eighth to end the night.
Central scored its eight runs on nine hits, three walks, two hit by pitches and seven Simpson errors. The Storm scored its one run on six hits with no walks and no Dutch errors.
Rushing and Zylstra each tallied two RBIs, while Ariola joined the duo with a multi-hit day. Wolken and Ariola scored two runs apiece.
Simpson’s Tyler Craig recorded two hits, while four Storm pitchers completed the eight innings. Starting pitcher Michael Wilson was chased after allowing four runs in 4.1 innings.
“I thought there would be some home runs today due to the wind, but it was cold that it wasn’t an easy day to hit,” said Stevens. “Simpson hit some balls hard, but our defense played really well and our pitchers are gaining confidence. If we play like this we’ll be in every game.”
The Dutch resume the league’s four-game series format Friday and Saturday against No. 25-ranked Buena Vista Univ. (13-3 overall, 2-2 conference) at Storm Lake. Last season the two teams split four games at Pella, but Central topped the Beavers in the conference tournament. Buena Vista was the coaches’ preseason pick to capture this year’s regular season crown.
“Buena Vista is a good team,” Stevens said. “It’ll be another long conference weekend, but we’re excited to get back out there.”