The Tabor College baseball team struggled to plate run support for starter Dustin Hurlbutt in a 3-1 loss to No. 2 Bellevue (Neb.) Wednesday in the Bluejays? second game of the NAIA Opening Round tournament.
In just his second loss of the year, Hurlbutt (10-2) went the distance, scattering four hits and two earned runs over nine innings on the mound. He walked three batters and struck out 10.
Hurlbutt battled Stephan Meyer (11-2), who picked up the win, giving up five hits and one earned run over nine innings while walking four batters and striking out five.
After a scoreless first inning, Bellevue?s Gabriel De La Rosa launched the first pitch he saw for a home run to lead off the second inning. Following a four-pitch walk and a sacrifice bunt, a one-out RBI single drove in the Bruins? second run.
Tabor countered in the bottom of the third inning. Tanner Bell hit a leadoff single?the Bluejays? first hit of the game?and Michael Baca roughed up Meyer for an RBI double, which narrowed the gap to 2-1. Gadiel Baez was hit by a pitch. The Bruin defense gained its first out when Baca was caught stealing. Jerrik Sigg coaxed a one-out walk off Meyer, and Alex Couch singled, but Baez was thrown out at home attempting to score. A ground out ended the inning with Tabor stranding two on base.
The Bruins scored their final run in the fifth inning, aided by a one-out walk and a two-out RBI single.
Both starters settled in, with each giving up just one hit in the four scoreless innings that followed.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Manny DeLeon led off with a double, but Meyer retired the next three Bluejay batters to end any hope of a final rally.
Hurlbutt had five three up, three down innings.
Baca, Couch, DeLeon, Jean Acevedo and Bell each had one hit.
Coming?With the loss, Tabor will play in an elimination game Thursday at 1:30 p.m. against either William Woods or Mayville State. With a win, Tabor would face a rematch with Bellevue Thursday at 5 p.m. in the first championship game. If Tabor were to defeat Bellevue, the ?if necessary? second championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday.
For scores and updates during the NAIA Opening Round tournament, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13