A two-game sweep with scores of 17-11 and 5-4 over Taylor University catapulted the Foresters into first place in the MCC standings with an 11-3 record in conference play. HU is 18-11 overall on the season.
With the two starting pitchers in game one having a combined 12-1 record on the year, you would expect a low-scoring defensive battle, but instead a firework display erupted. The two teams combined for 31 hits and 28 runs in the contest.
Both teams scored a run in the first and the Foresters chased Taylor starter Zach Vander Laan from the game with four runs in the top of the second. Chris Menzie drove in two on a single to right center and Eric Harpring delivered a two-run homerun to give HU the 5-1 lead.
In the bottom half of the frame, Taylor exploded for nine runs on eight hits to take a sizable 10-5 lead. After a quiet third inning, the Foresters made a lot of noise at the plate in the top of the fourth banging out three singles, three doubles and a homerun in the inning for six runs and an 11-10 lead.
HU starter Drew Taylor retired the Trojans on a flyout and two strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth and the Foresters stayed hot at the plate in the fifth. They gained some breathing room by combining two walks with four hits for four more runs to make it 15-10. Taylor got one back in the bottom of the inning, but HU added a pair in the sixth to secure the win.
Taylor went the distance to earn his eighth win of the season. He allowed 11 runs on 14 hits and two walks while striking out eight. Edwin Rodriguez and Menzie both had three hits in the game for the Foresters and Andrew Drummond led the team with five RBI.
In the nightcap, the Trojans out-hit HU 11-9, but the Foresters came away with the 5-4 victory. Taylor plated one in its first at-bat, but HU came back with a pair of runs in the second and third to go up 4-1.
The Foresters got their eventual game-winning run in the top of the sixth when Harpring scored on a fielders' choice by Ryan Shell to make it 5-1. The Trojans made things interesting in their half of the sixth. They scored three runs on four hits and had the tying run on third when Eric Schultz, who came on in relief of HU starter Mitch Bowers, got Michael Nassar to pop up to first for the final out. Travis Frantz took over for Schultz in the bottom of the seventh and got out of a one-out bases-loaded jam to preserve the win and pick up a save.
Bowers was credited with the win for HU. He gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out three. Harpring was the lone Forester to have two hits in the contest.