INDIANOLA, Iowa – Bud Smith came into Sunday's doubleheader against Luther with a whopping two at-bats to his credit and nothing but zeros across his stat line.
As the saying goes, the third time is a charm.
Smith – a backup catcher – sparked a six-run fifth and the Simpson baseball team came back from seven down to beat Luther in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader, 12-11.
Luther won the day's first game 5-3, but Simpson won a tightly contested series, 3-1. The games were decided by a combined five runs, with Simpson coming out on the right side of three, one-run decisions.
Tyler Craig went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and two home runs, the second of which provided the winning run in a game that looked like a lost cause for most of the afternoon.
Luther's offense – particularly the bats of Eric Pittman and Mitch Knippenberg – was all-but unstoppable for six innings, as the Norse (8-12, 4-8 Iowa Conference) scored three in the first, four in the second and one each in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
After batting around in the second and getting a big, two-RBI single from Zach Hendrikson, Luther led 7-0.
Simpson came back with four in the home half of the second, but the Luther lead grew to 10-4 by the fifth.
Entering the game as a defensive replacement an inning earlier, Smith came to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth. The 6-0, 220-pound freshman roped a double to right off reliever Blake Peterson to score two runs and start the rally.
Two batters later, Brett Crable lined a two-RBI double to left and Craig tied it up with his first long ball of the afternoon.
Knippenberg's fourth hit of the game scored the go-ahead run in the sixth as Luther re-gained the lead, 11-10.
Knippenberg finished the game 4-for-5 with three RBIs, reaching base in each of his six plate appearances. Pittman went 4-for-6 with base hits in each of his first four at-bats as the duo combined for eight of the team's 18 hits.
Crable singled to lead off the seventh for the Storm (8-13, 4-8) and Craig hit his second home run in a row, sending a Peterson delivery over the right field fence.
Crable went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored to cap off a weekend in which he hit .643. The centerfielder also recorded an assist on the final out of the game when he retrieved an overthrown ball on a stolen base and gunned down Austen Graham at third for the third out in the ninth.
Brock Borgeson – one of seven Simpson pitchers used in the series finale – held Luther without hit in 1 1/3 innings to move to 2-0 on the year. Gage Reis allowed just one hit to earn the two-inning save, his first of the season.
In game one, Crable went 3-for-3 with two RBIs but Simpson couldn't dig itself out of a 5-1 hole.
Andy Briggs went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored and Alex Byom (4-0) pitched six solid innings to lead Luther.
Jose Rodriguez (1-3) gave up five runs – four earned – over six innings in the loss.
Simpson hosts Central in a doubleheader on Monday beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Dutch (13-8, 5-5) lost 3 of 4 against league-leading Coe over the weekend.