NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology remained in first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings with a 7-6 and 6-3 doubleheader sweep at Manchester College on Saturday.
Rose-Hulman retained a one-half game lead over Anderson in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference by improving to 25-10 and 16-4 in league play. Manchester dropped to 19-17 and 11-10 in HCAC games.
In addition, Rose-Hulman clinched a bid to the HCAC Tournament scheduled for May 10-12. The league's regular season champion will serve as tournament host with games on their home field.
In the opener, Rose-Hulman pounded out 12 hits to capture the tightly contested contest. Both team scored three runs in the third inning, twice in the fifth and once in the sixth. Rose-Hulman scored once in the fourth to provide the game deciding run.
Senior Will Burchett (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) had two hits, including a triple, and three RBIs from the leadoff spot. Senior Derek Dauenbaugh (Bloomington, Ill./University) added two hits, with a double, and three RBIs in his first start of the season after returning from injury.
Other Rose-Hulman with two singles each included sophomore Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) with one RBI and one run scored; sophomore Parker Fulkerson (Terre Haute/Holy Cross University) with one run scored; and junior Bobby Newman (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Freshman Ben Menich (Prospect, Ill./Mount Prospect) improved to 5-0 on the season with five innings in the start and four strikeouts. Senior Ryan Fuller (Fort Wayne/Elmhurst) tossed the final two innings and held Manchester to one run for his fourth save.
Rose-Hulman's large offensive innings came in the third and fifth frames. Newman had a key two-run single and Dauenbaugh added an RBI double to lead the third inning charge. Dauenbaugh's two-run single highlighted the fifth inning.
In the nightcap, Rose-Hulman scored three runs in the first and single runs in the second, third and fifth frames to earn the 6-3 victory.
Senior Jim Bob Schuler (Salem/North Harrison) provided a strong pitching performance to improve to 7-3 on the season. Schuler scattered seven hits and allowed two earned runs with five strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work. Sophomore Michael Bush (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Christian) recorded the final four outs for his second save.
Newman led the offense with four singles and three runs scored. Fulkerson tallied three singles with one run scored and one RBI for Rose-Hulman.
The three-run first inning provided the momentum for the win. Newman provided an RBI single, junior Donald Stopka (Grayslake, Ill./Carmel Catholic) hit a grounder that led to the second run, and sophomore Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the third run.
The two teams conclude their series with a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.