INDIANOLA, Iowa - Brad Agan (Knoxville, Iowa/Knoxville) led off the bottom of the 10th with a double and Justin Svehla (Lincoln, Neb./Lincoln Northeast) drove in the winning run two batters later as Simpson beat Luther 7-6 Friday night at McBride Field.
In the Iowa Conference opener for both teams, Svehla's chopper over Luther first baseman Mark Weber allowed pinch runner Tyler Crandell (Ames, Iowa/Ames) to score from third for the game-winner. Crandell moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Colton Calvert (St. Charles, Iowa/I-35).
The Storm (7-5, 1-0 IIAC) jumped out to a 6-2 lead but had to endure a comeback effort by Luther, which tied the game in the eighth.
Svehla ended the day 2-for-5 with an RBI. The nation's leader in slugging percentage, Dave Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and Scott Ethell went 1-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs.
Kyle Ruhle (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington) came on in relief of Kyle Hanna (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny) to earn the win, holding Luther to one run off two hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. Hanna went 6 1/3 in the start, surrendering five runs - all earned - off 11 hits.
Both teams got on the board early, with Simpson holding a 3-2 lead after the first inning.
Simpson extended its lead with three runs in the fifth. After two quick outs, Corey Rasmussen (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) doubled down the left field line and scored when Johnson doubled the other way. Ethell then unleashed a two-run shot off Norse starter Jeff Riddle to give Simpson the 6-2 lead.
Zack Topping went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the Norse (8-4, 0-1). Reliever Danny Smith surrendered the winning run, taking the loss.
Simpson and Luther resume their series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at noon. The first game was set to begin at 1 p.m., but the game time changed due to the threat of inclement weather.