Pioneer baseball falls in HCAC opener, 7-6

Pioneer baseball falls in HCAC opener, 7-6

LEXINGTON, Ky.—After a late comeback evened the score in the late innings, the Transylvania University baseball team dropped its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener to the Panthers of Hanover College, 7-6.

The Pioneers opened the game strong behind the solid efforts of sophomore starting pitcher Adam Boone, who threw two shutout innings in the first two frames. Transylvania was unable to score however, despite a three-hit first inning and putting several runners in scoring position.

In the top of the third inning, Hanover got into the scoring column, picking up four runs on six hits to take the lead. Transylvania responded in the bottom half, however, picking up one run behind a leadoff double from senior outfielder Hunter Voshell. With Voshell on second and no outs, junior outfielder Trey Simpson tripled to right field to bring Voshell around for the first Pioneer run of the game.

Boone responded with a shutdown inning in the top of the fourth and the Pioneers came to the plate looking to even the score. Freshman shortstop Jared Williams led off the inning with a single to right field, followed by another single from freshman catcher Blake Hart. After a Pioneer strikeout, junior outfielder Hunter Jones was hit by a pitch and Voshell grounded into a 5-2 fielder's choice for the second out of the inning. The next Pioneer batter was Simpson, who knocked a deep shot into the right center gap for his second triple in as many at bats and bringing in all three Pioneer runners to tie the game at four apiece.

Hanover added a run in the top of the fifth and the top of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. But the Pioneers continued to battle and broke through in the bottom of the eighth. After a leadoff walk, Hart moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Jones singled to left field, moving Hart to third with one out. Jones stole second to take the double play out of order but Voshell popped up to second base for the second out of the inning. Senior third baseman Nick Edwards delivered the clutch hit with a line drive single to left field and scored both Hart and Jones to knot the game at 6.

After two quick outs in the top of the ninth, Hanover hit a double and an intentional walk put runners on first and second. Junior pitcher Kameron Schwartz struck out the next batter but a dropped third strike and errant throw allowed the runner to reach safely. A wild pitch to the next batter brought the go-ahead run home before the final out was recorded one pitcher later.

Transylvania made an attempt at a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out but an infield popup and a groundout to shortstop dashed the Pioneer threat and ended the game.

Transy tallied 12 hits in the game, led by Simpson and Edwards who had three hits each. Simpson also added four RBIs to lead the team. On the mound, Boone worked seven innings, allowing six runs and striking out one. Schwartz picked up the loss after allowing one run in two innings.

The Pioneers (3-8, 0-1 HCAC) will continue HCAC play this weekend in a home series against Manchester University. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Friday with the series concluding with a doubleheader on Saturday.