Sixth Inning Rally Fuels V-Hawks First Win in Final Game Against Graceland
LAMONI, Iowa – The Viterbo University Baseball team captured their first victory of the year in the final game of a four-game series at Graceland University (Iowa) on Monday. The Yellowjackets win the first three games 6-7, 9-13, and 3-10, while the V-Hawks won the fourth 6-5. VU now holds a 1-11 record, while GU is now 6-9.
In the first game of the series, Graceland got on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI single, but Viterbo responded in the top of the second with four hits, leading to two runs, including RBI singles by Hunter Hess and Ryder Mortenson. GU added three more in the bottom of the frame on three straight RBI's, including a Keith Whitaker triple. They would add one more in the third on a bases loaded walk, but Graceland would strand three runner on base. The V-Hawks would take the lead in the top of the fourth, 6-5, on a Chad Herrera single, followed by a Blake Warner three-RBI home run. The Yellowjackets would take advantage yet again in the sixth, scoring twice. Viterbo would only get one base runner in the seventh, and would lose 6-7.
Warner led VU with two hits and three RBI's, while Hess added two hits and an RBI of his own. Whitaker went 3-4 for the Yellowjackets. Anthony Reza (0-1) recorded the loss, while Ryan Gill had two strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Jorge Diaz earned the win with three strikeouts.
The nightcap was a high-scoring affair, as Spencer Hans single brought in Kendal Hofer and Herrera in the top of the first, but the Yellowjackets topped that, with a five-run opening frame that included a two RBI double and two RBI single. Viterbo closed the deficit to one run in the top of the second on Warner's two RBI home run, but the third inning belonged to Graceland as they scored two runs on a double before a final runner was thrown out at home. Carson Trumpold scored Hans in the fourth, but four more GU hits in the fifth led to three more runs and a 5-10 lead. In the top of the sixth, Vitebro scored four runs on two outs, coming from a Trumpold RBI double, Herrera RBI single and a Hofer RBI walk. However, Graceland would mange one more response, scoring thee more in the bottom of the inning to secure a 9-13 win.
Hans led the V-Hawks offense, going 3-4 with two RBI's and Trumpold added two as well on 2-4 hitting. Skyler Harris went 3-4 with four RBI's for Graceland. Kyle Burns (0-2) recorded the loss, and Cale Beckman struck out three batters in three innings, while Rafael Severino (W, 1-2) had two K's for the Yellowjackets.
On Monday, GU jumped out to a 0-1 lead after the first, and while Hofer and Hans brought in Mortensen and Marcus Hornacek in the third to take the lead, Graceland took the lead right back in the bottom with a two RBI double. The Yellowjackets kept adding to that lead with two runs in the fourth, four in the fifth and a single score in the sixth. Mortensen scored again in the seventh, but the deficit was too much and Graceland won 3-10.
Mortensen went 1-2 and scored two runs for Vitebro, and JD Woodruff went 3-4 with two RBI's for GU. Ben Strassman (L, 0-3) had five strikeouts in 4.1 innings, while Roger Camacho secured the win with five strikeouts of his own.
In the final game of the series, Hofer would reach home on a GU error to start the game, but an RBI single for Graceland in the bottom of the first tied the game 1-1. The Yellowjackets began to build another lead in the fourth with two runs on a hit and an error, and went up three runs in the fifth on an RBI double. Viterbo would then explode for five runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead, coming from a Hess single, RBI walks from Hofer and Warner, a Warner single, and Gavin Daniel forcing an error that brought home Hofer. GU scored one in the bottom of that inning, but it wasn't enough as Viterbo earned the 6-5 victory.
Six different V-Hawks recorded a hit, and Hofer scored twice with an RBI to lead VU. Bryan Paez went 3-3 for GU. Alec Danen earned the win (1-1), while Elio Narvaez had four strikeouts.
Viterbo Returns to action Saturday, March 11 with a four-game series at Columbia College (Mo.).