Pioneers end season with series win at Manchester

Pioneers end season with series win at Manchester
MANCHESTER, Ind.—The Pioneers stole the first two games of the weekend series, before dropping the finale, 10-5, against the top team in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference ending the 2014 season.

After picking up a 15-8 win Friday, the Pioneers found themselves in a 3-0 hole after Saturday's first inning.

Senior Zach Bynum was hit by a pitch in the top of the third to lead off the inning for the Pioneers. Fellow senior Zach Riney dropped a single to left field, moving Bynum to second and putting two on for Transylvania with no outs, as the Pioneers looked to capitalize.

With Bynum and Riney aboard, sophomore Trey Simpson laid down an effective sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Sophomore Nick Edwards followed with ground ball to second base allowing Bynum to cross the plate for the first run of the day for the Pioneers, as they worked to erase the 3-1 Manchester lead.

After the Spartans added another run in the fourth, the Pioneers gained their first lead of the day at 5-4. Back-to-back singles from Simpson and Edwards help start the rally for Transylvania. Senior Pete Travisano sent a shot to right center to score Simpson and put runners at the corners for the Pioneers.

Senior Kody Ross was able to reach base by a throwing error from the Spartans, scoring Edwards to pull the Pioneers within one, 4-3. The Pioneers tied at four on a mishandled ball from the bat of senior Sam Liggett to score Travisano. A RBI single from senior Kameron Mason scored Ross and gave Transylvania a 5-4 lead, as the Spartans came to the plate in the sixth.
Manchester regained the lead with three runs in the inning, before adding another run in the seventh to build an 8-4 lead. But, just as they have so many times this season, the Pioneers rallied in the eighth to take the lead for good.

Ross drew a base on balls as the lead-off hitter in the inning, before Mason and sophomore Hunter Jones landed back-to-back singles to load the bases. Riney drew another free pass for the easy RBI closing in on the Spartan lead, 8-6.

After a Manchester pitching change, Simpson drove a single up the middle and a costly Spartan blunder allowed three runs to score for the Pioneers, earning their second win of the series.

Freshman Tom Banahan picked up his fourth win of the season and sophomore Kameron Schwartz earned his fourth save of the season, as the duo combined to limit the Spartan offense to one run in the final four innings, helping the Pioneers to the win.

The Spartans, however, avoided the series sweep with a 10-5 win in the finale. Transylvania used a two-run second inning to pull ahead of Manchester after the Spartans plated one in the first.

Ross singled, before stealing second to help spark the Pioneer offense. Mason doubled to right center to score Ross for his fourth RBI of the series to give Transylvania its first run of the game. Liggett stepped into the box and wasted no time, sending a shot down the left field line to give the Pioneers a 2-1 advantage as Mason cleared the bags.

The Pioneers tacked on another run in the third thanks to a RBI single from Riney to extend the lead to 3-1.

Manchester responded with four runs in the fourth, to gain a 5-3 lead, on a RBI single from Derek Lamle and a three-run homer from Trevor Kimm. The Spartans extended their lead to 8-3 with three more runs in the fifth. The Spartan offense generated two additional runs in the eighth to help build a six run advantage in the closing innings to steal the series finale.

A RBI from Ross on a fielder's choice allowed Edwards to score in the top half of the seventh, before the final run in the ninth. Riney led the Pioneer offense going 4-for-9 with two RBI on the day, while Travisano added a 4-for-9 performance with one RBI.

The Pioneers finished the 2014 campaign with an 18-22 record, while 12-14 in HCAC play missing the post season by just three games.