DUBUQUE, Iowa – Matt Pennings tied Simpson's career saves record when he closed the door in game one and he picked up a complete-game win in game two as Simpson swept Dubuque 6-4 and 13-3 on Friday.
The Storm (18-18, 10-14 Iowa Conference) earned a couple of much-needed wins as they battle for a spot in the conference tournament. With four games remaining, Simpson is in fifth place, two wins ahead of Coe and two behind Loras.
Tyler Craig went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs and Josh Pirtle doubled in the go-ahead run in the third inning of Simpson's game one win. Pirtle doubled twice, the second coming in the three-run, third inning that broke a 1-1 tie and gave Simpson the lead for good.
Kyle Helmerson (2-4) struck out five in 6 1/3 innings and Pennings retired the final two batters for his eighth career save. The junior ties the mark held by Chris Dorff (2009-12) and David Teske (1988-91).
Jake Esdohr went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Simpson in a run-ruled game two that saw the Spartans (11-23, 6-16) commit three errors.
Simpson took full advantage of two of the Dubuque miscues, scoring seven unearned runs in an eight-run fourth inning.
Pirtle had two more doubles in the nightcap as Simpson plated six as a team. Pirtle, Craig and Brett Crable all joined Esdohr with two RBIs.
Simpson trailed 3-2 after the third inning before the fourth inning put the game away. Michael Chia doubled to lead off the inning and scored the tying run on a single by Esdohr.
With two outs in the inning and the bases loaded, two runs came in on an error by shortstop Eddie Pablo. The two-out rally continued with back-to-back doubles by Craig and Jake Barr as Simpson put the game out of reach.
Pennings (5-3) picked up where he left off the previous game, working efficiently in the complete-game effort. He threw just 81 pitches and issues zero walks in seven innings to improve to 4-2 against the Iowa Conference.
Simpson's four-game series against Dubuque concludes Saturday. First pitch for game one is at 1 p.m.