Grace’s doubleheader with Bethel College on Tuesday was highlighted by a 12-inning duel at Miller Field.
Unfortunately for the Lancers (12-17, 5-9 Crossroads League), Grace dropped the extra-innings battle 2-1. But Grace rallied for a convincing 7-1 victory in the second half of the twin bill to split with the Pilots (8-16, 5-9 CL).
The first game was a 12-inning battle. The teams were tied 1-1 from the sixth inning until the decisive 12th.
Bethel struck first in the fourth inning. The Pilots benefitted from a two-out error to push a run across the plate.
Grace found the tying run in the sixth. William Swisher reached base with a single, and Quentin Herbster came on to pinch run. Herbster was moved to second on a bunt and came around to score on a throwing error by the Pilots.
The Lancers threatened to walk off with the win in the eighth inning. Grace loaded the bases with one out thanks to a single and two walks. But the next two batters retired with a strike out and a fly out.
Bethel finally broke through in the top of the 12th inning, scoring the go-ahead run with two outs in the inning. In their final at-bats, the Lancers put a runner on second base with one out. But Grace stranded Chase Baker at second with two fly outs.
CJ Swartz started the game on the mound, going seven innings with only allowing an unearned run. He struck out four and scattered six hits in an impressive performance. Tim Weber tossed five innings of relief, giving up three hits and one run with four strikeouts.
In the second game, Grace’s offense produced seven runs on six hits. The Lancers trailed 1-0 entering their half of the third inning, but Grace ripped off five runs to take control.
Colton Ferrand drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to right field. Frank Rocchio followed that up with a two-out single to score another. Jared Lemler also had an RBI single in the inning, and Grace benefitted from two fielding errors by the Pilots to move ahead 5-1.
Rocchio doubled to lead off the fifth inning and eventually came around to score on an errant pickoff attempt. Lemler drove in his second run of the game with another two-out single, scoring Austin Green and giving Grace a comfortable 7-1 lead.
Jason Stevens and Wesley Gensch combined to handcuff the Pilots on offense. Stevens picked up the win after pitching six innings, surrendering one run and four hits. Gensch came in to pitch the final inning and struck out two of the three batters he faced.
Rocchio and Lemler were each 2-for-3, and Green scored twice.
The Lancers conclude the week with two more home dates. Grace hosts Marian on Friday and Saturday for a pair of doubleheaders. Friday’s games start at 2 p.m. and Saturday’s start at 1 p.m.