Rose-Hulman Baseball Clinches HCAC Tourney Bid

DEFIANCE, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology clinched a bid to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament with a 12-5 and 13-4 doubleheader sweep of Defiance College on Saturday afternoon.

With the sweep, Rose-Hulman earned the No. 3 seed in this week's HCAC Tournament.  The Fightin' Engineers will face Anderson University in the first round on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in a tournament held at Manchester University.

Rose-Hulman clinched its bid to the tournament in a 12-5 opening game win.  The Fightin' Engineers pounded out 15 hits, with six players recording two hits each.

Sophomore Donnie Waters (Franklin, Ind./Franklin) led the offensive effort with two doubles and four RBIs.  Sophomore Patrick Klima (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph) had a triple and a single with three runs scored and one RBI, and sophomore Warren Whithaus (Robinson, Ill.) contributed two singles, three runs and one RBI.

The multiple hit performances continued with senior Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) adding two singles, two RBIs and one RBI; senior Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) with two singles and one run scored; and freshman Drew Schnitz (Huntington, Ind./North) with two singles, one run and one RBI.

Rose-Hulman trailed 4-3 after five innings, but a six-run sixth inning proved the offensive difference.  The Engineers also added two runs in the seventh and a single run in the ninth.

Sophomore Karson Nixon (Jasper, Ind.) picked up the victory with eight strong innings on the mound.  Nixon allowed just two earned run runs with five strikeouts to move to 5-3 on the season.

In game two, Akard tied a single-season school record with his 20th stolen base and Waters moved into fifth in single-season school history with 18 doubles.  The offense once again had 15 hits, and five players had multiple hits.  A nine-run second inning rally quickly put the game out of reach.

Klima slapped three hits with one run and one RBI to lead the offensive attack.  Akard added a double, triple, two runs and two RBIs.  Whithaus pitched in with two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Other multiple hit players included sophomore Kody Alayon (Hammond, Ind./Bishop Noll) with two hits, two RBIs and one run scored; and sophomore Caleb Kissel (Plainfield, Ill./North) with two hits, two runs and one RBI.

Sophomore Andrew Stull (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) tossed six innings and allowed just one earned run with five strikeouts in his fourth win of the season.  Junior John Krasich (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit) tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts to finish the victory.

Rose-Hulman completed the regular season with a 23-16 mark and finished 16-9 in conference play entering this week's league tournament.