HUNTINGTON, Ind. - After a rough start to the season, the Forester baseball team logged four consecutive wins over Crossroads foe Grace College to earn the series sweep and improve to 4-12 overall, 4-2 in conference play.
In the first game of the series at Miller Field on Friday, HU picked up a 4-0 shutout victory.
The Foresters took control early by plating runs in the first and third innings before adding two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Huntington made a living off of Lancer errors, taking advantage of five GC miscues to score three unearned runs on the way to their first win of the season.
Jamon Hammel was credited with three RBI, two of which came by way of sacrifice flies, to pace Huntington offensively. He along with teammates Jordan Klopfenstein, Blake Ayers and Marc Bowers accounted for the visitors’ hits.
Xyan Adkisson went the distance on the mound to pick up his first win of the season. He gave up only two hits and three walks while striking out five.
In Friday’s nightcap, Huntington picked up where they left off to take command of the contest. Coach Frame’s squad touched home six times in their first at bats on their way to a 10-3 blowout.
HU’s first inning highlight reel featured five base pokes including run-scoring hits by Kirschbaum, Bowers and Adam Christner as the Foresters sent 11 batters to the plate to blow the game wide open.
The Foresters added a run in the second and fourth innings to pad the score 8-0. The Lancers finally came to life in the final two innings to score three runs but Hammel and Austin Drummond countered by each doubling in a run to keep Grace at arm’s length.
Offensively, HU banged out 13 hits with Ayers and Brian Kirschbaum each collecting three hits apiece. Ayers scored three runs while Kirschbaum scored twice and drove in another. Klopfenstein and Hammel added two hits each while Christner, Lanphier and Bowers each drove in a pair of runs.
Cody Walters started for HU and gave up just one hit in five innings of work to pick up the win. Blake Hohlbein and Brock Gower each worked an inning of relief, giving up two and one run respectively.
Huntington returned to Forest Glen Park on Saturday to continue their win streak, picking up 5-2, 8-3 victories over the Lancers.
The opener started with a bang as Joey Hickerson knocked one of the park to give the Lancers an early 1-0 lead. Christner returned the favor in the bottom of the frame with his second four-bagger of the season to knot things up at 1-1.
Grace reclaimed the lead in the top of the third but Christner again answered by tripling in Drummond, who had opened the inning with a walk, and then coming around to score on a Klopfenstein RBI-ground out to give his team what proved to be a permanent lead.
The Foresters added an insurance run in the fourth with a little help from the Lancers by way of a walk and wild throw before Ayers logged his first career dinger in the fifth to round out the game’s scoring.
Christner finished with a triple and homer to go along with two RBI and two runs scored to lead HU at the plate.
John Ripke earned the win in the circle for HU by scattering two hits, two walks and two runs while striking out two in five innings of work. Kyle Zerfas tossed two innings of scoreless relief.
In the nightcap, the Foresters outhit the Lancers 9-4 to claim the 8-3 win.
Derek McKinney picked up the win, allowing three hits, three runs and two walks while striking out seven in 5.1 innings work while Kirschbaum finished up by holding the Lancers scoreless over the final 1.2 innings.
Offensively, Huntington jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after two innings of play thanks to run-scoring ground outs by Ayers and Bowers. The Lancers deadlocked things at 2-2 in the top of the fourth before HU exploded for three runs in their half of the frame to take command of the game. Grace got one back in the sixth before the Foresters added three runs in the bottom of the inning to wrap up the win.
Bowers highlighted the fourth with an RBI-single while Hammel stole the show in the sixth with a two-run double.
Hammel and Christner each collected a pair of hits to go along with two RBI. Kirschbaum also finished with two hits and scored two runs as the Foresters extended their win streak to four.
The Foresters are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan for a 4:00 p.m. doubleheader.
Huntington is currently ranked 7th in NAIA Division I in stolen bases per game with 2.938.