Vikings stuck in .500 mode

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Junior Matt Green went four for seven and drove in four runs during the Vikings' split at Graceland.

LAMONI, Iowa -- In his hit TV series "Seinfeld," Jerry once referred to himself as the real Even Steven, since every bad break was countered by a good one.

The Missouri Valley College baseball team is presently much the same mode, having split four straight series -- including home doubleheaders against ninth-ranked Heart of America Conference power Benedictine, 0-3 and 3-1, and No. 24 William Penn (Iowa), 11-3 and 8-16, during an even .500 campaign.

The latest draw was Saturday at Graceland, where each team had eight error games during losses -- Valley winning the opener, 11-3, and the Yellowjackets taking the nightcap, 16-8.

Four of Graceland's miscues during the first game were by the first baseman, although only two of the Vikings' runs were unearned. Senior Jay Karlin pitched five scoreless innings before being nipped by a run in the sixth.

By then, though, Valley was comfortably ahead, by a 10-0 margin. Junior Matt Green had three hits and drove in a pair of runs, junior Enrique Castro had two doubles to plate two runs and senior Gabe Riley had a double and a single -- also logging two RBIs, along with scoring twice. Senior Brian Brown added a solo homer to the Vikings' 12-hit attack.

The 'Jackets (5-11, 2-4 HAAC) jumped on top early, tagging sophomore Adam Banski for nine runs -- eight of them unearned -- during the first two frames, including seven runs in the bottom of the first.

Junior Matt Calcagni had three hits and knocked in three runs and junior Adrian Kerr and senior Tyler Belanger had four hits and seven runs between them.

Keyed by sophomore Chris Songhurst's three-run homer, Valley scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning -- Green contributing a two-run double. However, that only brought the deficit down to six runs and the Vikings were blanked over the final two stanzas.

Junior Justin Larkin had three hits, including an RBI double, during the getaway game for Valley (9-9, 3-3) -- which is scheduled to play Wednesday at William Jewell.

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