STORM LAKE - The Buena Vista baseball team opens up American Rivers Conference play with a three-game weekend series this Friday and Saturday against Simpson College on McBride Field down in Indianola.
The Storm (6-2) will be playing their home opener after dropping a 7-2 decision at the University of Iowa on Monday night in Iowa City. The Beavers, meanwhile, are coming off a 4-3 trip down to Tucson, Ariz., which ended on Tuesday afternoon with a strong 5-4 victory over St. John's (Minn.). The Johnnies just missed out on cracking the top-25 in this week's D3baseball.com poll. BVU is 6-7 overall.
Who: Buena Vista (6-7, 0-0) at Simpson (6-2, 0-0)
What: American Rivers Conference Baseball
When: Friday, March 22 & Saturday, March 23
Where: Indianola, Iowa * McBride Field
Inside the Series:
The Storm and Beavers will be playing for the 132nd time when the three-game set begins on Friday night. BVU won the first-ever meeting in 1953 by the score of 2-1. The Beavers have won seven of the last 11 in the series, but the Storm did take 2-of-3 from BVU a year ago down in Indianola.
About Buena Vista:
The Beavers are playing their first true road games of the season after 13 games played on neutral sites. Five of its seven losses this season have been by just three runs or less. Senior Peyton Renning leads the team and sits fourth in the A-R-C with a .481 average. He currently has an 11-game hitting streak and has multiple hits in seven of the last eight games. Bryce Rheault is right behind with a .404 average and has scored a team-high 22 runs. The Beavers are third in the league with 91 runs scored, second in doubles (29) and stolen bases (24) and third in slugging (.437). Tyler Tennyson is 2-0 on the mound with a 1.69 ERA over 16 innings of work. Gage Smart is also 2-0 in four appearances out of the bullpen, including one save. He has struck out a staff-high 16 batters in only 13.2 innings. BVU finished sixth in the conference a season ago with a 10-12 league record.
The Storm had a three-game win streak snapped with their loss to the Hawkeyes. It went 6-1 overall during its spring trip to Florida to begin the season. It looks to improve on a 6-17 conference record from 2018 where it finished eighth. The offense has been off to a consistent start with a .327 average that is third-best in the league entering conference play. Truman Schmitt tops the conference in hitting at .556 through eight games, going 15-for-27 with three doubles, one home run, four RBI and a team-leading 11 runs scored. Devin Creger is sitting at a solid .386 with three of his seven hits going for extra bases. Nathan Carlin already has four triples and a team-high nine RBI. As a team, the Storm have scored 50 runs in eight games and has 22 extra-base hits. As a pitching staff, it sits right in the middle of the pack with a 5.52 ERA which is tied with BVU for fifth. Brady Held is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts. He's pitched 14 total innings and has allowed just one run, struck out 26 and walked only four.
The Storm step out of conference play next week to play games against Cornell (March 27) followed by a three-game weekend series at Bethany Lutheran on March 29-30. Buena Vista will play its home opener on March 26 against Hamline University before hosting Loras College next Friday and Saturday.