Home Runs Carry Tigers to Victory
The Tigers played an important doubleheader on Sunday afternoon as they faced second place Midland Lutheran College in Crete. After dropping a pair of close games yesterday to Dana, the Tigers had lost five straight conference games after a 4-1 start.
Doane used solid pitching and key home runs to carry the team to a sweep of the Warriors, 7-4 in game one and 5-3 in game two.
In game one, MLC scored first as they plated three runs off of starter Dexter Spitsnogle in the third inning. When the Tigers took to the plate in the third inning, Warrior pitcher Matt Trejo was plagued by two hit batters and an error which loaded the bases with one out.
It looked as if Trejo might get out of the inning after inducing a fielder's choice, force out at home plate. With the bases still loaded, Thomas Frinkman came to the plate and found himself down in the count, one ball and two strikes, after three pitches. On Trejo's next pitch, Frinkman connected for a grand slam home run to left field and put the Tigers on top, 4-3.
The inning wasn't over as Doane took advantage of two Midland Lutheran errors and plated a run on a wild pitch to take a 5-3 lead after three innings.
MLC came back in the fourth, plating a run with two outs on a Tiger error.
Doane scored a run in the fifth on a Warrior error. Midland committed five errors in the game. In the sixth inning, Adam Bies delivered a single to plate Bryan Dutcher for the final run of the game.
Spitsnogle closed out the game to pick up the complete game victory. He struck out five while limiting the Warriors to four hits.
In game two, Midland Lutheran struck first by taking advantage of a leadoff walk to start the game. Nolan Koehn delivered with a double against Tiger starter Evan Koetter to plate the first run of the game in the first inning.
The Tigers had their hands full with Warriors starter Mike Burdine. He entered the game with a 4-0 record. In the first inning, he struck out two batters and he started the second inning with two strikeouts. After four consecutive strikeouts, Thomas Frinkman and Evan Bumgarner picked up back-to-back hits to bring up Tim Engelhaupt.
On the second pitch he saw, Engelhaupt connected for a three-run home run to left-center field to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Midland Lutheran cut the lead in half when Austin Hubbard hit a home run in the third inning.
Frinkman drew a four-pitch, one out walk in the fourth inning to start another scoring rally for the Tigers. With two outs, Engelhaupt stepped up to the plate for the second time in the game and for the second time, he delivered a home run. Engelhaupt finished 2-for-2 with five RBIs.
Midland Lutheran added their final run of the game in the sixth inning and Koetter shut down the Warriors in the seventh for the victory. He allowed four hits and struck out four.
The wins moved the Tigers to 6-6 in conference play and only two games out of third place in the standings.
Doane will play a non-conference game against Nebraska Wesleyan University on April 8 in Lincoln.