Florence, KY – After squandering a four-run lead in the seventh inning to yield a tie, the Transylvania baseball team quickly made amends by rebounding with a three-run eighth inning to blow past the Mt. St. Joseph Lions, 9-6 at UC Health Stadium Tuesday night.
The Pioneers improved to 7-10 on the year with the victory and back above .500 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings, moving to 3-2 in conference play.
Junior pitcher Tom Banahan was tapped for the midweek start and established the tone with five strong innings, allowing one earned run and notching four strikeouts. The Pioneers cruised to a 5-1 lead with Banahan limiting the Lions' lineup.
Jared Williams led the way for the Transylvania offense with three hits and three runs batted in, with multiple hits coming in timely moments for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers scored one run in the first inning when Trey Simpson came home after an error by the Lions' second baseman. Mt. St. Joseph matched the Pioneers in the bottom of the third when a potential third out of the inning was dropped by Simpson in center field, allowing Mt. St. Joseph to score.
Quickly the Pioneers atoned, a recurring theme seen throughout the afternoon, when they countered with two runs in the top of the fourth inning. After leading off the inning with a single, Williams scored on a Kody Ross groundout. Connor Blevins then raced home from third base after a passed ball to hand his Pioneers a 3-1 advantage after four innings.
The Pioneers threatened to pull away in the top of the fifth when Williams delivered a one-out, two-run double to drive in Simpson and Rex Rogers for a 5-1 Pioneers lead. Seemingly more insurance was provided in the top of the seventh when Williams came through with his third RBI and hit of the day into right field to score Rogers once more.
But the Lions were undeterred by their four run deficit and rained fire on the Pioneers in the bottom of the frame. A wild pitch and ensuing groundout provided the first run of the inning to cut Transylvania's lead to 5-2. With two outs, the Lions hit three straight singles to vault back into the game as they tied it at five. The Pioneers finally broke free of the inning as new reliever Daniel Seitzinger induced Mt. St. Joseph's Ryan McCauley into an inning-ending groundout.
Transylvania did not take time to mope, instead making quick plans to retake momentum and the lead. Two timely Mt. St. Joseph errors and a passed ball allowed the Pioneers to score two. With the aid of a pitching error, Blake Hart reached base then stole his way to third and scored on a Hunter Jones sacrifice fly to rapidly achieve a 9-6 advantage.
Seitzinger teamed up with Schwartz on the mound to shut down the Lions over the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs as they combined for two strikeouts. Banahan got the win for the Pioneers.
Transylvania will aim to continue their winning method as they open up play in Lexington this weekend for a special series against Defiance. The Pioneers will play at the home of Single-A Lexington Legends, Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Game one of the series will occur on Friday night, as Transylvania University hosts "Legends Night." Admission is free and the event is open to the entire Lexington and Transylvania community, with first pitch taking place at 6:00 p.m. Transylvania alumni and staff are heavily encouraged to attend. The following day the Pioneers will host Defiance for a doubleheader at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. First pitch for the Saturday twin bill is scheduled for 12 noon.
For the latest on Transylvania baseball, follow their official twitter @TransyBaseball