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Tigers Win Season Opener

The Tiger baseball team opened the 2011 campaign with a 17-9 victory over Northwestern College in non-conference action. Doane's victory in the season opener marked only the second time in the last six years that the Tigers opened with a win.

After a pair of scoreless innings, the Tigers got in the board in the bottom of the third inning. Anthony Hincy reached on a base on balls and advanced to second on AJ Spanel's infield single, the first hit of the new season. Mike Albert followed with a base hit to plate Hincy for the first run of the season.

In the top of the fourth, Doane starter Jake Bartek ran into trouble and allowed four runs in the frame. Brian Polfer relieved Bartek and picked up the final out of the inning but Doane was down 4-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Northwestern changed pitchers and the Tigers took advantage. Ethan Schroeder and Jason West led off the inning by getting hit by pitches. Following a strikeout, Hincy took Eddie Pantzlaff deep to left field for a home run to tie the game at 4-4. Anthony Dunn followed with a single and was replaced by courtesy runner Thomas Albert. Albert stole second base and came around to score on a double by Spanel. Mike Albert platted Spanel with a triple. Doane hit for the cycle in the inning as they scored five runs to take a 5-4 lead.

Doane added to the lead in the fifth. Schroeder walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by West. Mike Korsakas drove in Schroeder with a double to right center.

In the sixth, Northwestern pulled within a run, 7-6, as they plated two runs on three hits. Doane extended their lead to 9-6 in the bottom of the frame. Spanel doubled and scored on a single by Mike Albert. Albert scored on a double by Schroeder.

Back-to-back doubles in the seventh gave the Red Raiders a run to cut the lead to a pair of runs but Doane responded with five runs in the bottom of the seventh to break the game open.

Korsakas led off with a double and Hincy walked. Dunn sacrificed the two runners up a base and Spanel tripled to plate a pair of runs. Albert singled in Spanel and moved to second on a single by Nick Renn. Albert advanced to third on a fly out and scored on the back end of a double steal with Renn. Renn scored on a triple by Schroeder.

In the eighth, Northwestern scored two runs to cut the Tiger lead to 14-9. Doane responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Hincy walked and Dunn singled. Tyler Lohr ran for Dunn and moved up to second base on a double steal. Spanel was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mike Albert followed with a double to plate a pair of runs. Spanel scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Thomas Albert.

For the game, Doane used five pitchers over the nine innings. Bartek threw 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out three. Polfer was the pitcher of record, picking up the win with 2.1 innings of work while allowing two runs on four hits. Zach Klene threw one inning and allowed a run on two hits. Miles Arehart threw one inning and allowed two runs on three hits. Nathan Roth threw the final inning and did not allow a run or a hit while striking out one. Doane pitchers collected seven strikeouts in the game.

The Tiger hitters picked up 17 hits off of Northwestern pitching. Mike Albert went 5-for-6 with six RBIs and two runs scored. Spanel went 4-for-5 with four runs and three RBIs. Schroeder was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs while Hincy was 1-for-2 with a home run, four walks, four runs and three RBIs. Korsakas and Dunn also had multi-hit games.

Northwestern received a 3-for-5 performance from Noah Bohlmann. He had two runs scored and two RBIs. Eddie Pantzlaff took the loss for the Red Raiders, allowing five runs on four hits.

Doane is scheduled to play the University of St. Mary on Saturday and Sunday.