PELLA - Sophomore Nick Henrichs pitched 6.2 scoreless innings and got the aid of some timely extra base hits by the offense, as the Buena Vista University baseball team secured game one of the three-game weekend series at Central College with a 3-1 victory on Friday afternoon.
Junior Bryce Rheault tripled to lead off the game and would extend his league-leading total of runs scored on the year to 28 when he crossed home plate on Peyton Renning's RBI groundout. Joe Rock added an RBI groundout in the fourth inning for a 2-0 lead before Porter Sartor, who had two hits in the contest, doubled down the left field line in the ninth for a big insurance run.
The Dutch didn't get on the board until the eighth when they got an RBI groundout to cut the deficit to one. They threatened to cut into the 2-0 BVU advantage in the sixth when they loaded the bases with no outs but Coleman Roberts caught a ball in right field and then fired home to throw out the runner trying to score. Henrichs then got a big strikeout to end the frame.
Henrichs allowed just six hits on the day, struck out five and walked only two. It was his first victory of the year in four starts, and in three American Rivers starts this season, he's now 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 20 innings.
Gage Smart came out of the bullpen and pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing one run on one hit while striking out a pair, en route to his third save.
Henrichs also doubled at the plate as BVU was held to only five hits overall.
Garrett Saunders went 3-for-4 to lead the Dutch who fall to 15-5 overall (5-4 A-R-C).
Buena Vista has now won three straight games to even its record at 11-11 (4-3 A-R-C). The same two teams will wrap up the series with Saturday's doubleheader which starts at 1:00 p.m.