Baseball Wins IIAC Regular Season Crown

Baseball Wins IIAC Regular Season Crown

The Buena Vista baseball team capped off what has been arguably the best regular season for any team in program history by completing the four-game series sweep of Loras College on Saturday and securing its second Iowa Conference regular season crown in the last five years.

The Beavers didn't waste much time in the opener, driving in three runs in the second inning for a 3-0 lead. Tanner Truesdell singled home Jeremy Lambert for the game's first run.  The Duhawks misplayed a sharply hit ground ball off the bat of Neil Marshall with the bases loaded and one out to make it a 2-0 game before Brandon Wessels singled to center to plate another.

Loras cut into the lead in the fifth with its first run of the day, but Lucas Hadaway limited the damage with runners at the corners and one out when he got an inning-ending double play.

Three straight singles by BVU to start the bottom half of the inning led to a sacrifice fly from Lambert after an errant throw by the Duhawks scored a run earlier in the inning.

Hadaway, who pitched the final three innings in relief to pick up the save, struck out the final two hitters in the seventh to send the Beavers charging to the mound in celebration as they secured the conference title outright.

Brandon Wessels, Weston Foxx and Truesdell all recorded two hits for BVU which out-hit the Duhawks, 10-7. 

Justin Lange got the start and allowed just three hits and struck out four over three innings.  Cam Beatty came on and pitched an inning in relief to earn the win before handing things over to Hadaway to close things out.

Between games, head coach Steve Eddie paid tribute to his senior class which played their final home games of their careers over the weekend before BVU was presented with the conference championship trophy.

The Beavers did not have a letdown in the finale, using a big four-run third inning to take control of the game before adding a run in the fourth, two more in the sixth and the final in the eighth.

Lambert had a big three-run double in the fourth inning for his only hit of the game. The Beavers then scored its run in the fourth on a wild pitch before crossing the plate twice more on wild deliveries by the Duhawk pitcher in the sixth.

After seeing Loras cut the gap to 7-6 with three runs in the seventh, Brandon Wessels drove in a big insurance run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.

Marshall had two of the team's eight hits in the contest.  Nick Schlecht went 0-for-1 with three walks and two runs scored, while also swiping one base.  Eric Gurbacki also doubled for the team's other extra-base knock.

Jake Bjorkgren got the start and went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out six.  Kendall Hazel came on in relief and was charged with the final three runs on just three hits over two innings of work.

Jacob Hadaway pitched a perfect eighth, including two strikeouts, while Ian Grigsby came on to close things out in the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out three. The save is his eighth of the year which ties a BVU single-season record set by James Stone in 2011.

Buena Vista closes the regular season at 33-7 overall (22-6 IIAC). It moves within one win of matching the single-season record also set in 2011.

The Beavers will now look to complete the season sweep of conference titles at the Iowa Conference Tournament in Cedar Rapids. BVU took on Loras once more in the second-round game on Thursday May 8, defeating the Duhawks 6-1.