GRINNELL, Iowa - Corey Rasmussen (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) broke the program record for stolen bases in a career and Simpson held off late rally by Grinnell in a 5-4 win Tuesday afternoon.
With a run already scored in the bottom of the ninth and the tying run on third, Chris Dorff (Urbandale, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley) closed the door on his fourth save of the season by striking out Pioneer leadoff hitter Chad Takabuki. Takabuki was the only batter Dorff faced on the day.
The Storm (19-14) scored four times in the first inning and once in the fifth, but let Grinnell back into the game with three runs in the seventh.
Freshman Ethan Hale (Clive, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley) kicked off Simpson's big first inning with a lead-off homer, the first long ball of his career. Scott Ethell (Knoxville, Iowa/Knoxville) roped an RBI double and Colton Calvert (St. Charles, Iowa/I-35) singled in a run during the frame. Ethell came in to score when Calvert was thrown out attempting to steal second.
Ethell turned in his second four-hit game of the season, improving his batting average to .431 on the season.
Rasmussen doubled in the first inning, then stole the 54th base of his career in the second inning, passing Ryan Cooley's mark of 53 set from 1989-91. The senior center fielder also moved into second in career runs scored (119) and earlier this season became the program's all-time hits leader. He currently has 166 career hits.
Calvert gave Simpson a 5-0 lead on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, scoring Bobby Bieniek (Barrington, Ill./Barrington).
The Pioneers (19-13) came back with three runs in the seventh inning, scoring on a wild pitch, an RBI groundout and solo home run from Matt Skelly.
Kyle Hanna (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny) picked up the win for Simpson, going six innings on the hill. Hanna (4-2) allowed only three hits and struck out two in the start.
Simpson closes out the regular season with a crucial three-game set at Dubuque this weekend, as the Storm are one of four teams fighting for the final three spots in the conference tournament. Game one of the series begins at 3 p.m. Friday, followed by a 1 p.m. Saturday doubleheader.
Notes: Junior shortshop Dave Johnson left the game after being hit in the helmet with a pitch in the first inning.