2012 Iowa Conference champions
CEDAR RAPIDS—Central College erased a five-run deficit and had the game-winning run in scoring position but Buena Vista University quieted the late-innings bats, dealing the top-seeded Dutch an 8-7 Iowa Conference baseball tournament loss Thursday night.
Central (29-10) had a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed and must now work its way through the bottom half of the bracket in the double-elimination tournament. The Dutch play the winner of Luther College (22-19) and Simpson College (18-23) at 4 p.m. Friday.
Central was behind one run and down to its last out in the bottom of the ninth inning when the Dutch began to work their magic. Second baseman Adam Ariola (sophomore, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) singled up the middle. Third baseman Jordan Judkins (sophomore, Marshalltown) advanced him to third with a hit through the right side. Then Judkins, the would-be game-winning run, stole second and two Central runners were in scoring position. But unlike many other games this season, Central was unable to come up with the big hit and fell victim to a strikeout to end the game.
Buena Vista (23-17) opened the slugfest with a five-run second inning. The Dutch replied by scoring three runs on two outs in their half of the frame. Catcher Max Seeman (senior, Panora, Panorama HS) had a two-run single and later scored on center fielder Sam Stetzel’s (junior, Perry) single to right center.
The Beavers notched another tally in the top of the fourth before Central pounded out four runs to go up 7-6. Stetzel belted a run-scoring double and scored from a Michael Jontz (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) single. Jontz crossed the plate on a throwing error.
Buena Vista refused to go away and added tallies in the seventh and eighth innings while keeping the Dutch scoreless for five frames.
“It was a back-and-forth battle,” coach Adam Stevens said. “I was really pleased with how our players came back and I felt good about how we were playing. But their reliever came in and did a good job and we couldn’t get anything going offensively.
“We had a bad hop here and didn’t make a play there and that was the difference in the game,” Stevens said. “They made a couple more plays than we did defensively, and give them credit, they played well.”
Judson McKown (sophomore, Maple Plain, Minn., Orono HS) (6-2), took the loss on the mound, pitching 1.1 innings. He entered the game for starter Joel Pulliam (senior, Des Moines, Lincoln HS), who allowed 11 hits and seven runs, all earned, in 6.2 innings.
The Beavers outhit Central 13-11. Stetzel recorded a team-high three hits and two RBIs. Ariola and Judkins each had two hits.
“We hit the ball well tonight,” Stevens said. “It’s a hard field and if you hit the ball on the ground good things are going to happen. We just didn’t quite have enough plays late in the game.”
The Dutch will regroup for Fridays’ elimination game.
“We’ll have to try and let this one go and play better tomorrow,” Stevens said.
Buena Vista defeated Luther 8-5 Thursday morning while Simpson lost to Wartburg College, 10-9. Eric Gotschall will call the play-by-play for Friday’s action. The broadcast can be accessed at www.central.edu/athletics or through www.kniakrls.com.