On opening day of the Mid-Central Conference tournament, the top-seeded Foresters (22-19) dropped game one 4-2 to #6 St. Francis, but then rebounded to beat #2 Indiana Wesleyan 4-3 to keep their season alive.
In the opener, HU out-hit St. Francis 12-6, but couldn't put enough of them together to beat the Cougars. St. Francis scored a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 4-0 lead. The Foresters got two back in the eighth and had two on with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn't come up with the big hit they needed.
Drew Taylor went the full nine innings in the loss for HU. He gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks while striking out four. Andy Janzen had two hits and a RBI to lead the Foresters at the plate.
Facing elimination with another loss, HU wasted no time jumping on Indiana Wesleyan pitcher, Tim Pauley. Austan Kas and Thad Frame opened the game with back-to-back doubles that led to an early 2-0 advantage. The Foresters added another run in the third on a leadoff walk and stolen base by Frame and a clutch two-out single by Andrew Drummond.
HU got the eventual game-winner in the fourth. Adam Culy singled to right to lead off the inning. Pinch runner Ryan Shell moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Janzen and went to third on a Pauley wild pitch. After Keith Benbow flew out to center, the Foresters again came up with a big two-out hit as Kas drove in Shell with a single up the middle.
The Wildcats got one back in the bottom of the fifth and made things interesting with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Levi Sell came on in relief of starter, Eric Randel, and got the final out to give HU the 4-3 victory.
Randel allowed three runs, one earned, on six hits and two walks while striking out four in eight and two-thirds innings. Frame went 3-4, including a double, at the plate with a RBI and two runs scored for HU.
The Foresters will face the #3 seed Bethel College today at 4:00 p.m. If they win, they will advance to Friday's championship round.