Baseball Splits Twinbill with No. 9 Manchester



chipka-muTERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman split a doubleheader against No. 9 ranked Manchester University to remain third in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball standings on Saturday.

Freshman Karson Nixon (Jasper) tossed eight strong innings in the opener as Rose-Hulman earned a 6-3 victory.  Manchester scored six runs in the fifth inning and had 17 hits to earn a 10-1 win in the nightcap.

In the opener, Nixon scattered 10 hits with two strikeouts in eight innings of work against one of the top ranked offenses in the nation.  Junior Michael Bush (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Academy) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his second save, including ending the game with a bases loaded double play off the bat of preseason All-American Corey Marchant.

Offensively, six Fightin' Engineers had two hits each to lead a balanced attack.  Junior Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) and freshman Patrick Klima (South Bend/St. Joseph) slapped two hits with two runs each.  Senior Bobby Newman (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) added two hits and two RBIs.

Other multiple-hit Engineers in game one included junior Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) with a single, double, one run and one RBI; senior Matthew Turk (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) with two singles and one run; and senior Donald Stopka (Grayslake, Ill./Carmel Catholic) with a single and a double.

Defensively, Rose-Hulman turned two double plays and made several outstanding individual plays.  Akard made two diving catches in the outfield, and senior Jordan Chipka (Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) threw out a potential run at the plate.

Jordan Niemann, Kyle Norris and Austin Rieke led the Manchester offense in game one with two hits each.  Dylan Padgett suffered his first loss of the season and dropped to 4-1.

In the nightcap, Manchester relied on a six-run fifth inning to secure the win.  Rieke had three hits, with Bryce Murphy, Marschant, Trevor Kimm and Cody Schell adding two hits each.  Kyle Konaraski improved to 7-0 on the season with an eight-inning performance that included eight strikeouts.

Sophomore Ben Menich (Prospect, Ill./Mount Prospect) held Manchester scoreless for the first four innings, before the Spartans offense showed its mettle.

The two teams complete their series with a single nine-inning game on Sunday at noon.  Rose-Hulman stands 12-16 and 9-6 in league play, while Manchester is 24-5-1 and 14-3 in conference games.