A pair of freshmen provided the winning boost for the Transylvania baseball team in its Friday afternoon 6-2 triumph over the Anderson University Ravens at Brandon Field.
The Pioneers took the first of a three-game series as they drew even at .500 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, and 12-15 overall.
Transylvania enjoyed another premium performance from senior pitcher Tom Banahan, who earned the win, yielding four hits and one earned run in 7.2 innings on the hill. Banahan registered seven strikeouts in a game that was low-scoring for most of the afternoon before the Pioneers found consistent scoring solutions late.
Transylvania squared off with Anderson in what began as a defensive-flavored contest, remaining scoreless through the first four innings. The Pioneers were on the cusp of scoring twice in the first three innings, but two baserunners were thrown out by Anderson to keep the game scoreless.
Finally in the fifth inning, the game witnessed its first run when freshman infielder David McAnelly led off the inning with a solo home run shot to left field, providing the Pioneers with a 1-0 lead. While Anderson kept the game close late into the game, McAnelly's run gave the Pioneers a lead they would not relinquish.
With a 1-0 lead, Banahan continued to deal for the Pioneers, striking out six of the next seven batters he faced. The Pioneers lineup provided the senior with more breathing room when freshman catcher Cole Ratliff lifted a solo home run to the left field wall for a 2-0 lead.
Anderson sliced the Pioneers' lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out sacrifice fly RBI, but junior designated hitter Blake Hart answered back in the top of the eighth with an RBI single that scored sophomore outfielder Daniel Seitzinger to raise the Pioneers' advantage back to two runs.
The Pioneers put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth inning by scoring three consecutive runs with two outs. McAnelly scored from third base on a wild pitch to make it a 4-1 Transy lead, and Seitzinger powered a double into right field to score sophomore outfielder Isaac Taylor. Transylvania's final run of the day came on an RBI single from freshman infielder Nick Nelson for a 6-1 advantage.
Anderson tallied one more run in the bottom of the ninth inning for the final 6-2 score, but freshman reliever Collin Johnson held firm to pick up his first save of the season.
Nelson, Ratliff, and McAnelly each had two hits for the Pioneers as the day belonged to the freshman offensively, and a veteran on the mound.
The Pioneers are back in action tomorrow versus Anderson in a Saturday doubleheader with Anderson. First pitch of the doubleheader at Brandon Field is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
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