N. MANCHESTER, IND. -- Franklin College snapped a 3-3 eighth inning tie with a 10-run frame to top Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 13-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament on Thursday.
Jordan Smuts led the Franklin offense with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs. Nick Stoia added three hits, including a double, and Jarrett Johnson had three hits with two RBIs for the Grizzlies.
Rose-Hulman's offensive performance included a pair of seniors with 4-4 efforts. Michael Kovacs (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) smashed a solo home run and a double with two RBIs in the third spot. Chris Stemple (Mount Vernon) smashed a triple with three singles, one run scored and one stolen base.
Senior Nick Rumpke (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wyoming) battled from an early deficit on the mound to keep the Engineers within striking distance. Rumpke allowed a single run in the first and two in the secnd, before shutting out the Grizzlies from the third-seventh frames.
The pitching allowed Rose-Hulman to claw from a 3-1 deficit into a 3-3 tie. Kovacs blasted a sixth inning home run for the first run, then singled home Stemple with the tying run in the eighth.
Franklin responded with the key hit of the day, a double by Jarrett Johnson to score Ian Sanders and Alex Boone, turning the 3-3 tie into a 5-3 Grizzlies lead and chasing Rumpke from the game.
Rose-Hulman dropped to 26-15 on the season, while Franklin improved to 27-12. The Fightin' Engineers return to action at 12:30 on Friday against Anderson University. Franklin and host Manchester square off at 9:30. The game to determine Saturday's two finalists will follow at 4 p.m.
2011 HCAC TOURNAMENT
May 12-14, 2011 - at Manchester
Game 1: Manchester 15, Anderson 5
Game 2: Franklin 13, Rose-Hulman 3
Game 3: Franklin (27-12) vs. Manchester (27-13)
Game 4: Rose-Hulman (26-15) vs. Anderson (26-12)
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner, 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, Noon
Game 7: If needed, opponents of Game 6 play again, 3:30 p.m.