STORM LAKE - Sophomore Nick Henrichs went seven strong innings, allowing just five hits and striking out a career-high nine, but he wasn't given much run support on Friday night, as the Beavers managed only two hits during a tough 2-1 loss to visiting Loras College in the opening game of a three-game weekend series.
BVU pushed across a run in the second with an RBI groundout from Ryley McGregor, and the way Henrichs and Loras starter Sam Marhefke were dealing, that looked like it could end up being the only score of the contest.
The Duhawks did, however, manage to tie the game in the sixth inning with an RBI groundout of their own. They later grabbed the lead in the eighth inning with a one-out RBI single right back up the middle. That came after the previous batter had struck out but a wild pitch on the play allowed him to reach and put runners at first and third.
The Beavers, who had dropped eight games by three runs or less coming into the game, looked to rally late and pull one out just like they ended Tuesday night's doubleheader. Porter Sartor was hit by a pitch on the very first pitch of the bottom of the eighth inning, and was moved up to second after a sacrifice bunt from Noah Paper. Bryce Rheault hit a hard ground ball over toward second which moved Sartor up to third, and Peyton Renning had his hard hit grounder back up the middle snagged nicely by the pitcher who threw over to first to end the threat.
Gage Smart worked around a two-out walk in the ninth to keep the one-run margin in tact, but the bats couldn't come to life in the home half for BVU as Loras reliever, Tanner Fallon, reigstered back-to-back strikeouts to end the game en route to his second save of the year.
The two teams combined to strikeout 19 times in the contest while chalking up only seven hits.
Rheault doubled for BVU while Joe Rock singled and scored the team's lone run in the second. Henrichs dips to 0-3 on the year after the hard-luck loss. He was charged with both runs and walked only two. Smart came on with the bases loaded and just one out in the eigth and struck out the final two batters of the frame.
With the win, Loras improves to 9-5 on the year (3-1 A-R-C) while Buena Vista falls to 8-11 (1-3 A-R-C). The Beavers look to regroup and come back to win the series with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday afternoon. First pitch of game one is set for 1:00 p.m.