STORM LAKE - Peyton Renning doubled, tripled and scored twice and the first three hitters in the Buena Vista line-up combined to go 6-for-12 in the contest, as the Beavers opened a big home series against the University of Dubuque with a hard fought 3-2 victory to move into a tie for second place in the American Rivers Conference standings with just two games to go.
BVU leap-frogged the Spartans in the standings with the win and are now tied with Luther College for second at 13-9 after the Norse fell on the road at Simpson, 11-5.
Renning got things moving quickly for the Beavers, taking the first pitch of the game and lined a shot over the left fielder's head and off the fence in left for a leadoff triple. He would score a couple pitches later when Bryce Rheault singled back up the middle. BVU had the bases loaded and no outs later in the inning as it looked to add to the lead, but a strikeout and an inning-ending double play ended any further threat.
Both starting pitchers were dealing and no one scored until the two teams traded runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. A leadoff homerun in the sixth put Dubuque on the board before BVU manufactured a sacrifice fly in the bottom half. A two-out single by Dubuque off Gage Smart in the seventh pulled the Spartans even at 2-2, but the Beavers came right back to retake the lead on an infield single to shortstop by Joe Rock. Rock hit a groundball up the middle that was gathered by the shortstop but he couldn't get to second base in time and his throw to first was just late.
Smart then finished things off over the final two innings, capped his third strikeout, as he improves to 5-1 overall.
The two sides combined to strikeout 18 times in the contest with Dubuque starter Chase Kueter, who went the distance, registering 10 of those.
Nick Henrichs got the start for BVU and went six innings, scattering four hits and allowing just the one run. He did walk four batters and struck out five. Tyler Tennyson was charged with the other run after facing just two batters to start the seventh before giving way to Smart who came on to face the big lefthanded batters in the middle of the Spatan lineup.
Buena Vista has now won eight straight home games and improves to 20-17 overall on the season. The team needs to win at least one game on Saturday to secure at least a top-three regular season finish. A win coupled with at least one Luther loss would give BVU the second-seed and a first round bye in next weekend's A-R-C Tournament.
First pitch between Dubuque and Buena Vista on Saturday is set for 1:00 p.m.