TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Illinois Tech battled to a doubleheader split with a pair of 7-6 decisions to open the Fightin' Engineer 2019 home baseball schedule on Sunday.
In the opener, Illinois Tech built a 7-3 lead before Rose-Hulman scored three unearned runs in the eighth inning to close within 7-6. The Fightin' Engineers put the tying run aboard in the bottom of the ninth before falling one-run shy, as the visitors posted a win in their season opener.
Brian Pershing came off the bench with two singles and one run scored, and Conner Helbling added two singles and one RBI to lead the Rose-Hulman offense. Conner Shipley added one single, one run and one RBI as part of a nine-hit attack.
Ted Howell led the Illinois Tech offense with a home run among two hits with three RBIs. Jacob Sorenson had three hits for the Scarlet Hawks. Ryan Cantlin struck out six in a total of six innings to pick up the win, and Jacob Geiger recorded the final four outs for the save.
In the nightcap, Clayton Mayfield tossed a dominant eight-inning performance for Rose-Hulman by allowing just one run and five hits with six strikeouts. Illinois Tech rallied with a 5-run ninth inning against the Engineer bullpen to take a 6-5 lead, before Rose-Hulman scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to take home a 7-6 win.
Shipley, Davis Robeson and David Burnside led off the deciding bottom of the ninth inning with singles to load the bases with no outs. Helbling then reached first on a fumbled ground ball to first base that knotted the score at 6-6.
With one out and the bases loaded, Luke Buehler hit a slow ground ball up the middle that Illinois Tech attempted to turn into a double play to force extra innings. Buehler beat the turn of the double play to first base, scoring Robeson with the walk-off run.
Robeson, Burnside, Helbling, Pershing and Logan Cody had two hits in game two to lead thhe Rose-Hulman offense. Orlando Cardenas-Juan and Michael Cortney had two hits each for Illinois Tech.
Rose-Hulman stands 4-3 on the season and returns to action on Friday at 6 p.m. at home against Calvin College. The Fightin' Engineers will also play Calvin at 11 a.m. and DePauw at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the second of three Invitational events in March at Art Nehf Field.