TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball team faces No. 1 ranked Webster University in an NCAA Division III Tournament elimination game today (Thursday) at 12 p.m. Central Time.
The Fightin' Engineers narrowly dropped a 4-2 decision to No. 6 ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) on Wednesday in the NCAA Division III Tournament opening round game. Rose-Hulman (26-17) led the nationally ranked Tommies 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, before St. Thomas scored three times to claim the victory.
The No. 1 ranked Gorloks were upset 2-1 by DePauw University in yesterday's opening round game. Webster finished a perfect 26-0 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play this season and have an overall mark of 37-6 entering today's matchup.
Rose-Hulman looks to make history in today's game, as the Fightin' Engineers have never defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in baseball.
Sophomore Kody Alayon was named HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player after helping the Fightin' Engineers finish a perfect 3-0 in the event last weekend. Alayon leads the Fightin' Engineer offense with a .426 batting average and has added 10 doubles, 15 stolen bases and a .458 on-base percentage.
Sophomore Caleb Kissel ranks second on the team in hitting at .333 with seven doubles, 33 runs scored and 31 RBIs. Senior Hank Akard has added a .322 average and paces the squad in hits (56), home runs (4), RBIs (32) and stolen bases (a school record 22).
Other top hitters in the starting lineup include junior Josh Hoeing (.318, 8 2B, 5 3B) and freshman Zach Trusk (.299, 6 2B).
The pitching staff features starting pitchers Andrew Stull (5-5, 2.95), Karson Nixon (5-3, 4.16), R.J. Carroll (3-2, 4.13) and Kevin Farley (6-2, 4.63). The bullpen has included contributions from several pitchers, including Alec McNally (1-2, 3.78, 9 saves), John Krasich (1-1, 4.32 in 20 appearances), Michael Bush (0-0, 1.26 ERA in 14.1 innings) and Daniel Sutherland (4-1, 3.13 in 13 apperances).
Webster has a record of 31-3 in its last 34 contests, with losses only to Illinois State, Washington (Mo.) and DePauw. The Gorloks feature two .400 hitters in Taylor Stoulp (.417, 17 2B, 3 HR) and Joe Winckel (.403, 12 2B, 6 HR) along with power hitters Corey Lasky (.388, 12 2B, 3 HR), Ryan Hall (.284, 10 2B, 5 HR) and Jeff Kammer (.280, 8 2B, 8 HR).
The Webster pitching staff includes standout starters C.J. Lee (5-1, 1.89 ERA), Dylan Dean Smith (8-0, 2.88), Zach Schneider (4-1, 3.06), Chris Jansen (5-1, 3.40) and Thursday's starter Isaac Behme (8-1, 3.84). Closer Jason Gray has not allowed an earned run this season wtih five saves in 18 appearances.
If Rose-Hulman wins today, the Fightin' Engineers would return to action on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Central Time against an opponent to be determined later today.