SPORTS

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May 4, 2004

Sports Shorts

Baseball hitters struggle in clutch in two losses against Rose-Hulman

When looking at last week's schedule, the Maroons knew it was going to be a tough stretch: six games in as many days against teams with a combined record of 99-38.

After splitting the first two games against North Central and Carthage, the Maroons were faced with the difficulty of managing their pitching, which has been noticeably thinner since losing fourth-year ace Andrew Hacker to injury, for weekend doubleheaders. Rain cancelled Saturday's home games against Benedictine (26-12), resulting in the decision to go with third-years Dan Harrington and Matt Altomare against Rose-Hulman (33-6) for the week's last two games.

In game one, Harrington took the mound against the Engineers and continued his recent dominance. Through three innings, he faced only the bare minimum of batters.

Yet third-year Engineers ace Nathan Soyer was handling the Maroons as well, and the game entered the bottom of the fourth scoreless. After getting the leadoff batter to strike out, Harrington gave up a single, walk, and hit by pitch. Fourth-year outfielder Matt Moore, who also hit a two-run home run in the sixth, hit a single to put Rose-Hulman up 2-0.

The Maroons answered by loading the bases in the top of the fifth with one out. Fourth-year Nick Kocinski's groundout brought in a run. Third-year Steve Ruh followed with a towering drive to left field hit right at the fielder for the third out.

Chicago had trouble building any momentum, going down in order in the sixth before falling further back 4-1. In the top of the seventh, the Maroons again loaded the bases for the heart of the order but couldn't score.

In game two, Altomare rediscovered his curveball and had a career-best game, holding the Engineers to one hit and one walk through seven innings. But the normally explosive offense again lacked clutch hits, which went down in order four times.

The Maroons' best chance to score came in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out. After driving the ball to the warning track three times in the first game, Ruh grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the bottom of the eighth, Altomare tired and was removed from the game after giving up a one-out walk. Second-year Dan Yeksigian entered the game and got a quick lineout. After a passed ball that advanced the runner to second, a weak groundball through the infield plated the winning run.

After North Central on Tuesday, the Maroons return home on Wednesday for Senior Day against Elmhurst at 3 p.m.