STORM LAKE - The temperatures heated up on Saturday and so did the bats for the Buena Vista University baseball team, as the Beavers totaled 29 hits and 21 runs en route to a doubleheader sweep of Wartburg. The team earned its first-ever three-game series sweep of the Knights.
The Knights pushed across a run in the top of the first inning of game one, but that resulted in the only lead for the Knights the entire day. The Beavers came right back with two runs of their own in the bottom half to take a 2-1 lead and never looked back. BVU scored in all but two innings and led 10-2 after a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by a Nick Henrichs 3-run homer to left center.
Wartburg tried to mount a comeback, scoring five times in the fifth, including a grand slam, that made it a 10-7 contest. The Beavers, however, answered with RBI singles from Ryley McGregor and Tyler Stoltze in the home half to extend the advantage to 12-7. Noah Paper doubled home a pair of runs in the seventh to give the team a little more breathing room at 14-7 before Peyton Renning followed with an RBI double of his own to make it an 8-run lead. Wartburg tacked on one run in the eighth for the game's final score.
Henrichs finished 3-for-6 with four RBI and two runs scored while Renning was 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Stoltze also doubled and registered three hits as the Beavers had 19 total hits in the game, including five that went for extra-bases. Logan Mueller, who was in the starting line-up for a second straight day, had one hit and scored a career-high three times.
Henrichs also got the start on the mound and picked up his second win of the year to improve to 2-4. He pitched five innings, allowed seven runs on nine hits while striking out four. Austin Scott and Tate Holmes eached worked two innings of relief to help close things out.
The bats didn't lose any steam to start the finale game of the series, as Bryce Rheault singled home Peyton Renning in the first inning before Joe Rock blasted an opposite field two-run home run over the fence in left to give BVU a quick 3-0 lead.
Wartburg cut into the lead with a run in the second before BVU got the run right back with an unearned run in the third. Coleman Roberts, along with Henrichs, picked up RBI's in the fifth inning to push the lead to 6-1 while Wartburg pushed across a run in the eight for its final score.
Renning, Rheault and Rock (the first three hitters in the Beaver line-up) combined to go 6-for-9 in the contest with three RBI and five runs scored. Each had two hits in the game with Rheault scoring three more times to run his season total up to a league-best 36. Porter Sartor came on to pinch hit in the eighth inning and doubled for the team's only extra-base knock of the game.
Eric LaRue gave BVU four innings to earn his first victory of the season. He allowed just one run and five hits while striking out three. The Beaver bullpen then did its job, allowing just one run and three hits over the final five innings. Clayton Christian worked three of those innings and surrendered only one hit.
In the two games, the Beavers also played some stellar defensive, turning four double plays and committing just three errors.
With the sweep, BVU improves to 15-16 overall and 8-8 in conference play. The team is currently tied with Dubuque and Loras for third-place in the league standings while Central is 8-11 and Nebraska Wesleyan is right behind at 7-9. The Beavers will look to keep their mometum going and solidify its positioning for the conference tournament as it hosts the Prairie Wolves in a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 23, starting at 3:30 p.m.