When nearly 2/3 of all your games are decided by two runs or less, is it any wonder that Hamline's baseball team played another pair of tense, tight affairs at Midway Stadium May 2? HU pushed back from a pair of deficits for a 4-3 win in the opener. In the nightcap, they came close to duplicating the feat but had to settle for a 6-5 loss.
In the first game, Casey Benford (3-0) shook off his own throwing error to go six strong innings to earn the win. SMU took advantage of that errant toss to catch a runner at third base to engineer two third inning runs for an early lead. But HU snapped back with singletons in the fourth and fifth to tie the game. The Cardinals regained the lead in the sixth only to see the Pipers come back with some more late inning Midway magic. It started with a Daniel Zurbey working a walk. A successful sacrifice by Dan Ellefson moved Zurbey to second. Ryan Hackel singled Zurbey home and advanced to second on the throw to the plate. Ben Richardson followed with a single to score Zurbey with the winning tally. Brett Bugielski tossed a scoreless seventh for his first save of the year.
Things started well in Game 2 as Ellefson's first inning RBI single gave HU a 1-0 lead. But the Cardinals, fighting for their playoff lives, struck back for five in the second inning for a 5-1 lead. that lasted until Zurbey sliced the margin in half with a long double to left in the third inning.
SMU then scored a run in the fourth that proved critical.
That's because the Pipers had another patented sixth inning rally. Doubles by Hackel and Richardson quickly produced one run. Later, Jordan Rubbelke singled in Richardson to make it 6-5. But that was as close as the Pipers could get.
Rannon Arch (1-3), making his first start of the season, took the loss.
The split left HU with a 16-22 overall, 6-12 in the MIAC. The Pipers will close out the 2012 campaign Saturday, May 5 at Midway against St. Olaf. The doubleheader will start at 2:30 p.m. Please note this is a change from the original 1:00 p.m. listed starting time.
Game 1 boxscore
Game 2 boxscore