Danville, KY. – Thanks to ninth-inning heroics by Hunter Jones and joint pitching gems from Tom Banahan and Braden Johnson, the Transylvania baseball team secured a 4-2 win against archrival Centre College at Gary Wright Field Wednesday.
The visiting Pioneers enjoyed a stellar start by Tom Banahan, who worked the first 4.2 innings of the night, striking out nine along the way while allowing just one hit in the process. Braden Johnson took over in relief in the fifth inning and guided the Pioneers along for the rest of the evening en route to his first win of the season (1-1).
Banahan allowed one earned run in his 4.2 innings of play, marked by a career-defining bottom of the fourth inning, striking out the side looking in all three at-bats.
Johnson was majestic in a different way, allowing no earned runs as Centre scored just once during his time on the mound in the eighth inning. The junior yielded two walks against four strikeouts in the win. Johnson and Banahan combined for 13 strikeouts on the night to lock down a Centre team that had jumped out to a 7-1 start to their season entering the night.
The Pioneers collected half of their run total in the second and the game-winning pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Connor Blevins led off the second inning with a walk, and Kody Ross drew a one-out walk two batters later. Both runners advanced to second and third base after a passed ball by Centre. After a Taylor Henley strikeout, Blake Hart came through with a base hit to drive home Ross and Blevins on unearned runs for Transylvania's 2-0 lead.
Centre took back a run in the bottom of the third when an Alex Richardson single drove in Grant Herald to carve the Pioneers' lead to one.
The next four innings became a pitcher's stage, as Banahan worked 1.2 more innings before handing the reigns to Johnson, who retired the side in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Centre had their moment in the bottom of the eighth inning when Andrew Schacht walked to lead off the inning, and made his way to third after a pair of groundouts. Greyson Evans then smacked a fast flyer to right field which glanced in and out of the glove of Hunter Jones, allowing Schacht to score from third to tie up the contest at 2-2.
The agony did not last long for Jones, who seized his moment in the ensuing top of the ninth. Henley walked to lead off the top frame, before Hart grounded out to move Henley to second. Kameron Schwartz then grounded out to advance Henley to third with two away. Trey Simpson then drew a two-out walk and advanced on defensive indifference by Centre. With runners on second and third, Jones lasered a liner to right field to drive in both runners to take a 4-2 lead for Transy.
Johnson ended the drama briskly in the bottom of the ninth, striking out the first two batters he faced and inducing Wesley Jorette into a game-ending 4-3 groundout to seal the win for the Pioneers.
The two-RBI double was a clutch moment for Jones, who was 0-for-4 on the night until his game-winning at bat in the top of the ninth. Simpson, Rex Rogers, Henley, and Hart all had one hit each as the game featured something for everyone in terms of pitching excellence and key scoring moments.
The Pioneers improved to 2-2 after taking to the field for action for the first time in a week and a half. Transylvania will get more chances to find their lather when they visit Berry for a three-game series beginning this Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m., followed by a second game at 4:00 p.m.
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