Quakers Rally to Beat Anderson
ANDERSON, Ind. — Sometimes a missed opportunity can lead to another chance.
A missed squeeze bunt turned into the winning run on Friday as the Earlham College baseball team defeated Anderson University 5-4 in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest.
Trailing 4-3 heading into the top of the ninth inning, the Quakers were able to rally for the victory.
Ethan Bailey singled with one out and Devin Spurgon followed with a triple to tie the game at 4-4.
With Thomas Rea at the plate, Earlham third base coach Brandon Pennington called for the squeeze. Rea missed the bunt and as Spurgon froze on the basepath, the Anderson catcher fired to third and the ball ended up in left field. Spurgon raced home with what would be the game-winner.
T.J. Plummer pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his record-breaking sixth save of the spring, while extending his all-time Earlham career mark to 12.
The Quakers are now 21-16 overall and 12-11 in the conference. They are tied for fifth place in the HCAC standings with Bluffton University (20-16, 12-11) and both teams are still alive for the fourth and final spot in the post-season tournament.
The 21 victories also tie Earlham's 1969 team for the third most wins in school history when the Quakers were 21-10.
Earlham grabbed an early lead against the Ravens (23-13, 15-8) as the Quakers scored on a wild pitch in the first inning.
A run-scoring single by Bailey in the second put the Quakers in front 2-0.
Anderson was able to rally in the fourth inning as the Ravens scored four times against Earlham starter Nate Hube.
After Bryce Rainey gave up a hit that allowed the final two runs to score, he was able to get out of the inning without further damage.
The Ravens threatened again in the sixth against Rainey, but Adam Warning came in with the bases loaded to record the final out as he fanned his only batter.
Howie Smith (4-2) then worked two scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth to get credit for the victory. Smith's pitching allowed the Quakers to get closer on the scoreboard as they picked up a run in the eighth when Ryan McCray came home as Anderson's third baseman didn't field a grounder by Alex Arovits.
Nate Lynch led the Quakers with three hits, while Bailey added two hits.
The two teams finish their HCAC series and regular season on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at noon.