CINCINNATI, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology opened the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball season with a 4-2 and 7-6 doubleheader sweep of Mount St. Joseph on Saturday at the University of Cincinnati.
Sunday's game was later cancelled due to incoming rain and snow into the Cincinnati area.
In the opener, Rose-Hulman snapped a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fifth inning and relied on a strong pitching effort to start the series with a win.
Junior Ben Menich (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) pitched six innings and allowed no earned runs to move to 2-1 on the season. Menich scattered eight hits with six strikeouts.
Freshman Karson Nixon (Jasper) tossed the final three innings in dominant fashion to earn the save. Nixon allowed no hits, walked one and struck out five for his first career save.
Offensively, senior Bobby Newman (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) provided the key hit of the day with a two-run single to snap a 2-2 tie in the top of the fifth.
Junior Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) scored three runs and added a single and a double to provide depth. Freshman Patrick Klima (South Bend/St. Joseph's) also contributed a single and scored once.
In the nightcap, Mount St. Joseph led 3-1 after one inning, but Rose-Hulman fought back with two runs in the third and one in the fourth, seventh and eight to tie the score at 6-6. In the 10th inning, Akard provided a triple to score sophomore Josh Hoeing (Rushville) with the eventual winning run.
Six Rose-Hulman pitchers combined to earn the victory. Sophomore Jake Althouse (Converse/Oak Hill) tossed a scoreless ninth to earn the victory, and freshman Andrew Stull (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) shutout Mount St. Joseph in the 10th to claim the save.
Akard led the offense with two hits, two runs scored and one RBI. Klima also scored twice, and junior Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) contributed a double and two RBIs. Freshman Caleb Kissel (Plainfield, Ill./North) also had two singles for the Engineers.
Rose-Hulman improved to 5-9 on the year and 2-0 in league play, while Mount St. Joseph stands 4-10 and 0-2 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers return to action with a three-game series at Bluffton on Friday and Saturday.