Vikings blast Pioneers, take game one of weekend series

Vikings blast Pioneers, take game one of weekend series
ROME, Ga. – It was a tough first outing of Transylvania baseball's weekend three-game series with Berry on Friday, as the Pioneers were routed in a 22-3 defeat by the Eagles.

Seven Pioneer pitchers faced a combined 54 batters over the course of nine innings, recording only six hits to Berry's 22.

After a 1-2-3 opening frame for the Pioneers, starting right-handed pitcher Jamie King saw the first Eagle spark of the night after a double by Berry's Farmer, notching their first of many on the night. A groundout by the next battler scored another Eagle, giving Berry a 2-0 advantage before the Pioneers closed the inning.

With an unsuccessful top of the second for the Pioneers, the Vikings' first-inning spark became a full-fledged fire in the bottom of the second. King was bombarded with a series of five singles, three runs and a stolen base, only managing to record one out on a fielder's choice. At the next at-bat, King struck out the Vikings'Farmer, notching the second out of the inning. But, Berry wasn't finished.

With two out, the following three batters singled all over the diamond, notching another three runs. The onslaught continued against senior right-hander Ryan James, which saw another two cross the plate before recording the final out, sending the Pioneers to bat in the top of the third down 11-0.

An initial walk in the top of the third by junior Hunter Voshell showed promise, but a following 5-4-3 double play by senior Zach Riney and groundout by sophomore Hunter Jones, forced an abrupt end to the inning.

James notched a quick two groundouts in the bottom of the third, but with two out, gave up a walk and two singles, marking another RBI for Berry, 12-0. One walk later, freshman lefty Bryce Crader relieved James, quickly ending the inning on a fielder's choice.

The bats would be silenced for both teams over the next two and a half innings until the Eagles awoke in the bottom of the sixth.

After an inning-opening double and single, Berry scored on a groundout to second base for the first out of the frame. A stolen base and walk later initiated a call to the bullpen, bringing in freshman right–hander Ryan Bale, who faced another three runs before forcing a flyout to left field, giving the Eagles a 17-0 cushion.

The bottom of the seventh featured sophomore right-hander Matt Birkenhauer and a flurry of Pioneer substitutions across the diamond. Two singles and a walk by Eagle batters loaded the bases for a flyout, notching the first of five more runs for Berry. By the end of the seventh, the Pioneers were headed for a 22-0 shutout.

Transylvania's bats finally saw life in what has been the team's hot inning this season: the eighth.

Freshman Connor Blevins singled to left center, snagging only the third hit of the contest, before senior shortstop Zach Riney's single sent him home, pulling Transylvania out of a shutout. Pinch hitting for senior Zach Bynum, senior Pete Travisano recorded the second run on a groundout moments before a flyout ended the inning, putting the Pioneers down 22-2.

Junior reliever Nick Edwards forced a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, giving Transylvania the final opportunity to make a statement. Riney, who went 2-for-4 at the plate, made his RBI on a single, scoring freshman CJ Burk. A final strikeout prevented a comeback effort, with the Pioneers falling 22-3.

Transylvania looks to rebound on Saturday, facing Berry in a doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m.