Coe advances to final day of Iowa Conference baseball tournament

Kohawks beat Luther two times in as many days; Norse end season, 27-18

Coe's Andrew Brierton (9) rounds third base against Cornell in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Coe's Andrew Brierton (9) rounds third base against Cornell in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Coe College kept its title hopes alive and did at the expense of Luther.

The Kohawks posted two wins in as many days over the Norse to advance to the final day of the Iowa Conference baseball tournament.

Fifth-seeded Coe eliminated No. 4 Luther with an 8-6 consolation victory Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Kohawks opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over Luther. Coe advances to play No. 3 Buena Vista (26-16) in an elimination game at 10 a.m. with the winner taking on top-seeded Wartburg (30-12) at 1 p.m.

Coe (23-17) never trailed against the Norse, scoring two in the top of the first. Kevin DeLaney drew a leadoff walk and scored on Thomas Simon’s single. Jacob Burns chased Simon home with a double.

The Kohawks started the third with consecutive singles from Jack Strellner, DeLaney and Simon. Strellner scored on a double-play groundout by Burns, making it 3-1.

The lead grew with two more the next inning. Nolan Arp reached on an error, Jordan Kaplan singled and both scored on Strellner’s double.

Luther tried to rally but couldn’t produce key hits. It did receive back-to-back doubles from Cody Reimer and Jake Halverson in the second, pulling within 2-1. The Norse loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but only Halverson scored on a groundout.

Coe’s Ben Jacobson notched his third victory of the season, throwing a complete game and allowing just two earned runs. He struck out 10, including the potential tying run that came to the plate in the final inning.

DeLaney and Simon had three hits apiece. DeLaney and Arp each scored twice. Simon, Burns and Strellner each drove in two.

The Norse’s late rally came up short. They scored four unearned runs with two out in the ninth. Joe Silversmith had a two-run triple and Bryce Hingst added an RBI single. Halverson finished with three hits. Hingst and Silversmith added two apiece.

Luther had the longest day of any IIAC team, playing three elimination games Friday. The Norse finished the season 27-18.

The Norse posted a wild, come-from-behind victory over second-seeded Dubuque just to face Coe.

The Spartans (23-19) led 3-2 going into the top of the ninth. Silversmith led off with a triple. Hingst was hit by a pitch and Mitch Bruggers followed with a double to score Silversmith and tie the game, 3-3.

Cody Reimer’s sacrifice fly to right field appeared to give Luther the lead, but Dubuque appealed that the runner left third before the catch and Hingst was called out, resulting in an argument and ejection of Norse head coach Bryan Nikkel.

Bruggers moved to third and then scored when Halverson sprinted down the first-base line after a slow chopper to first, sliding into first and beating the diving tag by the first baseman.

Dubuque placed the winning run on first after singles by Will Doherty and Jack Lasswell, but Reimer got a pop out and groundout to end it. Reimer threw all nine innings, striking out five and improving to 5-1.

The Norse opened with a 2-1 morning victory over Central (20-22). Luther’s Nate Beckman threw a complete game, allowing one run on five hits. Halverson led the offense with two hits and an RBI.

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