MOUNT BERRY, Ga.—The Transylvania University baseball team won its second and third consecutive games of the young season on Saturday, taking two games from the No. 21 ranked team in the country, the Berry College Vikings. The Pioneers saw their greatest offensive outburst of 2016 in the first game of the day, grabbing a 12-8 victory before earning a 6-5 decision in the nightcap.
In game one, Transy fell behind 3-0 in the first inning but responded with an explosive top of the second to put up six runs and take the lead. Third baseman Rex Rogers opened the inning with a single down the left field line and second baseman Kody Ross followed that with a single of his own. Catcher Gage Beavers recorded a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. First baseman Cameron Lord battled and took a walk, loading the bases for centerfielder Daniel Seitzinger, who was hit by a pitch, bringing the Pioneers' first run of the game in to score. After a fly out from pitcher Trey Simpson resulted in the second out of the inning, Shortstop Jared Williams doubled to left field to plate three more runs. Left fielder Hunter Jones followed Williams with a single to score another run and right fielder Connor Blevins doubled to score Jones.
Simpson settled in after a bumpy first inning, holding the Vikings to no runs over the next four innings and Transylvania continued to build its lead, scoring three runs in the fourth with RBIs from Blevins, Rogers and Ross. The Pioneers added one more run in the sixth after a single from Williams and another Blevins RBI, this time coming on a groundball up the middle to give Transy a 10-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.
Berry threatened in their turn during the sixth, scoring four runs to draw the game to 10-7 heading into the seventh. Berry added another run in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the Pioneers' lead to just two runs but clutch hitting from Transy added two more insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Leading 12-8 in the final inning, Braden Johnson locked up the win with a shutdown 1-2-3 inning.
The Pioneers recorded 18 hits in the contest, led by four from Rogers. Blevins contributed four RBIs as an offensive force in the middle of the lineup. Simpson picked up his second win of the year, striking out five Vikings in 5.2 innings of work. Johnson earned his first save of the year, working the final 2.1 innings out of relief, allowing no hits and no runs.
In game two, the Pioneers wasted no time jumping on the board, tallying two runs in the top of the first inning. Three of the first four hitters in the inning picked up singles as Jones and Blevins each drove in a run. Transy's bats would go quiet for the next three innings as they failed to record a hit again until the fifth inning.
During the offensive cold spell, the Vikings managed to grab the lead, scoring one run in the second inning, two in the third and one in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth. Transylvania regained the lead quickly however, picking up three runs in the frame. First baseman Cameron Lord led off the inning with a line drive single to left field and moved to second after Seitzinger was hit by a pitch. Simpson hit into a fielder's choice that wiped out Seitzinger at second but put runners on the corners for Williams, who picked up a bunt single to score Lord and move Simpson to second. Jones followed with a single of his own to load the bases. Blevins stepped in a drove a ball to left field, scoring Simpson and Rogers followed with an RBI ground out to put Transy back on top 5-4.
Berry knotted the score in the bottom of the fifth after a wild pitch but again, the Pioneers responded to retake the lead for good in the top of the sixth. Catcher Blake Hart singled to right field to open the inning and was pinch ran for by Aaron Johnson, who advanced to second on a ground out from Lord. Seitzinger earned a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. After a strikeout by Simpson, Williams stepped up to the plate and singled through the right side to give Transy a 6-5 edge.
Starting pitcher Adam Boone worked his way out of a jam in the bottom of the frame, eliminating a base runner on a double play. Boone found himself in a bind again in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and a hit by pitch. Errors put the tying run on third and winning run on second with one out. Tom Banahan replaced Boone in relief and struck out the first batter he faced before intentionally walking a batter to load the bases. Banahan then blew away the final batter of the game, forcing a weak fly ball to right to seal the win.
Transy tallied nine hits in the second win, led by two each from Williams, Jones and Blevins. Blevins continued his strong showing on the day from game one, adding two more RBIs in the nightcap. Boone earned his first win of the year, striking out two batters in 6.1 innings of work before Banahan came on and earned his first save of the season.
Transylvania (4-2) will look for the series sweep on Sunday, returning to action at 1:00pm.