GRINNELL – Cornell's baseball team got nipped in a 2-1 pitchers' duel, but came back to claim a key 5-3 road win in the second game with Grinnell for a Midwest Conference South Division split Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park.
The Rams (8-14 overall, 3-3 MWC) remained in third place in the divisional race. Grinnell (9-15), four-time defending champions in the South Division, dropped to 4-6 in league play.
The teams meet again Sunday for two scheduled nine-inning games in Mount Vernon. First pitch is 12 p.m. at Ash Park Field.
Cornell freshman right-hander Kevin Stahmer came through in Game 2 with a clutch two-out save, the first of his career. The Pioneers cut the margin to 5-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth, and had the bases loaded with one out when Stahmer got the call from the pen.
Stahmer induced an infield popout, and then retired the final batter on a fly ball to right field. He preserved the win for freshman starter Jared Henry (2-3), who fired six solid innings of four-hit ball. Henry left with a 5-2 lead.
Freshman Wyatt Kurzejeski had a big game from the No. 8 slot in the lineup, going 3-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBIs. He slugged a two-run homer in the second – his first round-tripper of the season – that put the Rams ahead 3-0.
Joe Gerace, who went 2-for-5, scored an unearned run in the third that made it 4-0. Jake Lehman's sacrifice fly gave the Rams an important insurance run in the seventh.
Freshman first baseman Max Freilinger went 2-for-4 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Zach Rogers stretched his hit streak to 15 games with a fifth-inning single.
Cornell's Kyle Stennes (3-2) was dealt a tough loss in the opener. The sophomore held the Pioneers to six singles and two runs in a complete-game effort. Grinnell broke a 1-1 tie on an RBI bunt in the bottom of the seventh.
Rogers went 3-for-4 to lead the Rams' offense. It was the senior's 14th multi-hit game of the season. Rogers singled home Lehman for Cornell's lone run in the top of the third. Lehman finished with a pair of hits.
Cornell outhit the hosts, 8-6. The Rams left eight runners on base.