NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball season came to an end with a hard fought 6-5 loss to Manchester College that took two days to complete.
The two teams battled to a 5-5 tie after seven innings, when darkness caused by a 75-minute rain delay in the third inning forced the game into a second day.
Manchester scored once in the bottom of the ninth inning to break the tie and secure the victory. With two outs, Jay Sheets singled and advanced to second on a hit by pitch. Cody Schell then singled into left field with two outs, and despite a nearly perfect throw home from left field, Sheets knocked the ball away from the Engineer catcher on a collision to plate the game winning run.
The hard fought contest featured 12 hits by the Rose-Hulman offense and three double plays turned by the Fightin' Engineer defense.
Offensively, sophomore Bobby Newman (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) led Rose-Hulman with three singles. Junior Jamie Weinle (Harrison, Ohio/Olney Central C.C.) added two doubles, one run scored and one RBI. Sophomore Will Burchett (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) also contributed two hits, including a double.
Defensively, Rose-Hulman turned three key double plays to keep the game within striking distance.
With the Engineers leading 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Weinle and senior B.J. Zobrist (Eureka, Ill.) had a violent collision in right field with runners on first and third and one out. Weinle caught the ball and signaled to the umpire that he made the catch. Zobrist took the ball from the injured Weinle and threw to Newman at third base, where a double play occurred since the Manchester runner at third base did not tag up on the sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, Newman turned an outstanding double play with a back-handed snag on the third base line and a throw to Zobrist, who threw on to sophomore Donald Stopka (Grayslake, Ill./Carmel Catholic) to complete the play.
The third double play ended the bottom of the eighth and kept the score tied at 5-5. With one out, Ty Foster struck out for the second out of the frame while runners on first and second were in motion. The Engineers forced the two runners into a rundown, where Zobrist applied a tag to end the eighth.
Rose-Hulman's best chance to score after the suspension of the game came in the eighth. Burchett doubled down the right field line, before hard lineouts by senior Chris Stemple (Mount Vernon), Zobrist and senior Michael Kovacs (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) ended the threat.
Rose-Hulman scored four times in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead. With one out, Kovacs singled and Dauenbaugh walked to cause the game's rain delay. Following the break, Newman singled to load the bases. Weinle then blasted a two-run double to make the score 3-0. Sophomore Nick Pilipovich (Terre Haute/North Vigo) added a two-run single to give the Engineers a 5-0 edge.
Manchester rallied with two runs in the third and single tallies in the fourth, sixth and seventh to tie the game at the time of darkness on Friday.
John Smolinski led the Manchester offense with a solo home run. Sheets had four hits for th Spartans, and Curtis Mallery improved to 8-1 with two scoreless innings on Saturday.
Rose-Hulman completed the season at 27-16 overall and reached the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. Manchester advances to the HCAC Tournament championship round against Franklin College later today.
The game also marked the completion of the careers for nine Rose-Hulman seniors (pictured), who won a school record 121 career games during their playing careers.