BLUFFTON, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology junior Jim Bob Schuler (Salem/North Harrison) tossed a complete-game five-hitter to lead the Engineers past Bluffton 4-1 in the opener of a three-game Heartland Conference baseball series on Saturday.
Schuler recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts in the nine-inning complete game performance and improved to 5-0 on the season. The left-hander lowered his earned run average to 1.98 for the year with his third complete game.
Schuler allowed just five singles and one walk to earn the victory. The Fightin' Engineers earned the win despite playing the contest with four new starters and without their senior class, which remained on the Rose-Hulman campus to complete the national Fundamentals of Engineering examination.
Rose-Hulman relied on two key extra base hits for its three early runs. Junior Derek Dauenbaugh (Bloomington, Ill./University) slapped a two-RBI double in the first inning to give the Engineers an early lead. Freshman Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) then blasted a third inning solo home run for the third run of the day.
Sophomore Donald Stopka (Grayslake, Ill./Carmel Catholic) offered support with two singles. Sophomore Matt Turk (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) drove home the day's final run with an RBI as part of a fielding error against Bluffton in the ninth inning.
Rose-Hulman improved to 15-8 overall and 5-3 in HCAC play, while Bluffton dropped to 9-14 and 1-7 in league games. The two teams will cap their three-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday at 1 p.m.