TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The fourth time was a charm for Illinois Tech baseball, as the Scarlet Hawks were finally able to open the season on Sunday after three previous dates of scheduled games this month were wiped due to weather conditions. Taking on Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in a road doubleheader, the Scarlet Hawks (1-1) split the twinbill against the Fightin' Engineers (4-3), with both finals ending up 7-6.
- GAME 1
- Tech: 7 runs, 14 hits, 2 errors
- RHIT: 6 runs, 9 hits, 0 errors
- GAME 2
- Tech: 6 runs, 9 hits, 2 errors
- RHIT: 7 runs, 12 hits, 1 error
How it Happened: Game 1
- Scarlet Hawk starter Ryan Cantlin struck out three of the first four batters he faced on Sunday, but Rose was able to get on the board first regardless. In the bottom of the third, designated hitter Conner Helbling drove home a run on a two-out single for the hosts.
- The Hawks were quick to respond, plating three in the top of the fourth. After an Enrique Acevedo single, a Michael Courtney walk, and a balk to advance the runners, freshman catcher John Casey hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score. Two batters later, first baseman Ted Howell homered to put Tech ahead 3-1.
- Rose-Hulman cut the lead to one with a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Scarlet Hawk offense did not slow down. Tech plated runs in each of the next three innings. In the fifth, Courtney singled in right fielder Zachary Dickey. Pinch-hitter David Navarro drove in a run on an RBI single before a Dickey RBI double two batters later in the sixth. In the seventh, Howell struck again, singling in Casey. After all the damage provided by the Scarlet Hawks, Tech led 7-2.
- Cantlin continued to pitch well throughout, lasting until two runners reached in the bottom of the sixth inning. Tech would allow three unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth after RHIT tacked on one in the seventh, but Jacob Geiger shut down the Engineers' offense as the game wound down. He struck out two in 1.1 innings to earn the save.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts: Game 1
- On the mound, it was Cantlin (six innings, seven hits, three earned runs, five walks, six strikeouts) and Geiger (1.1 innings, one hit, one walk, two strikeouts) who earned the win and the save.
- Howell, a junior, was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.
- Left fielder Jacob Sorenson (3-for-4, run scored) and shortstop Nick Bledsoe (2-for-4, run scored, walk, stolen base) had multi-hit games.
How it Happened: Game 2
- It did not take long for the Scarlet Hawks to get on the board in this one, as center fielder Orlando Cardenas-Juan doubled to start off the game. Two batters later, Courtney singled him in.
- The Engineers, however, scored in the bottom of the first to tie the contest and seized control of the game in the third with a two-run Logan Cody double.
- RHIT would score one more runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 5-1 lead. With two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth, freshman Alex O'Malley relieved Tech started Ian Duke and proceeded to fire 2.2 innings of shutout baseball, allowing no hits in the process.
- With the Scarlet Hawks down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Tech mounted a furious comeback. After Casey, Navarro, and Bledsoe all reached base with one out, Dickey singled Casey in to bring Tech to within three. A Spencer Scalzi fielder's choice put Tech one run closer before a Cardenas-Juan walk coupled with a wild pitch brought Tech to within one.
- Brandon Bennitt then stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out RBI single to center field, scoring Scalzi to tie the ballgame. During the next at bat, Bennitt was able to get in a rundown long enough for Cardenas-Juan to steal home and give the Scarlet Hawks a 6-5 lead.
- Rose-Hulman, however, rallied in the bottom of the ninth, scoring on an error and a fielder's choice to salvage the second game of the day.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts: Game 2
- O'Malley (2.2 innings, no hits, no runs, three walks, one strikeout) was Tech's best on the mound.
- Cardenas-Juan (2-for-4, two runs, walk, double, stolen base) and Courtney (2-for-4, RBI) had multi-hit games for the Scarlet Hawks.
- Bennitt had the game-tying hit in the top of the ninth inning.
- Tech's trip in Florida opens up on Saturday, March 16 with a game against UW-Stevens Point at 8:45 a.m. central time (9:45 a.m. eastern time). A breakdown of which games will provide live stats and/or audio/video will be available will be made available later this week.