A hitters' duel gave way to a 12-inning pitchers' duel in which both starters went the distance, as Casey Benford tossed a complete-game shutout to close out the night for the Hamline University baseball team sweep over UW-Stout, 11-8 and 1-0.
In the opener, Ryan Hackel went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in three runs while in the second he made his mark on the field and used his lone hit in the game to drive in the winning run, playing a significant role in helping Benford to the win.
Hamline is now 22-11 overall and Stout is 12-24. The Pipers return to MIAC play in their home finale tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4. They host Gustavus Adolphus College at 2:30 p.m.Game 1 Box score
UWS 8 13 1
HU 11 12 2
The opening game of the day was a back-and-forth battle on the board as the teams exchanged numerous leads.
UW-Stout got on the board first in the opening game, scoring a pair of runs in the second and another in the third, holding a 3-0 as the teams headed into the bottom of the third.
Hamline responded with four runs in the third to go up 4-3. Andy King picked up two of the RBIs with a double to left field.
The Blue Devils then scored three in the fourth, taking a 6-4 lead. Hamline didn't let that lead last long, either, as the Pipers scored two in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game at six apiece.
Stout tallied two in the fifth, but Hamline responded with three in the bottom to take the lead for the final time in the game. The Pipers added two more runs in the sixth.
Reliever Evan Knutson picked up the win with a one-inning performance. Rannon Arch then came in for the seventh inning, striking out a trio of batters to end the game and pick up his first collegiate save. Game 2 Box score
UWS 0 8 2
HU 1 4 0
In the second game, defense was the name of the game as the Pipers turned four double-plays and saw stellar play from their infielders. Benford helped out his cause in the field, making diving plays and winning foot races to the bag for key outs.
Over the course of the 12 innings in the second game Benford faced 42 batters, striking out three and walking just one. Stout's starter, Tyler Hamann, threw 11.2 innings and faced 45 batters, striking out seven and walking four.
The pitchers gave up just one extra-base hit apiece - each a double.
Benford forced Stout batters into 19 ground-outs and nine fly-outs while Hamann managed to four 10 ground-outs and 15 fly-outs.
Hamline scored the lone run in the game in the 12th inning as the lead-off batter, Ben Richardson, was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt advanced Richardson to second before a fly-out found Hamline with a runner on second and two outs. Cory Miller was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.
Ryan Hackel then used his one hit he would acquire in the game to drive in the winning run as he knocked the ball deep into left field, allowing Richardson to cross the plate.