Lexington, KY – The Transylvania baseball team began their series against the Anderson Ravens with a bang, as sophomore shortstop Jared Williams delivered the game-winning RBI in the eighth inning to lift his team to a 5-4 win at Marquard Field.
The Pioneers clinched the crucial nail-biting win after trading blows through the full-course heart of the game that featured a series of momentum shifts and heroic moments for both sides. But in the end it was the home team who found a way to seal the victory.
The Friday night victory was a poignant one for the Pioneers who equalized their win total from the 2015 season with the Game One series win against Anderson. The Pioneers improved to 13-13 overall, and 9-5 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Play. The result pushed Transylvania into sole possession of fourth place in the HCAC standings, two games ahead of the Ravens.
Anderson opened Friday night's festivities with a boastful monologue in the top of the first inning where they posted three runs on the board. Two early errors and a one-out double by Anderson's Connor Morris allowed Anderson to collect a 3-0 run into the bottom of the first.
After the early salvo by Anderson, starting pitcher Braden Johnson discovered his rhythm and allowed just one earned run over the next 5.2 innings as the Pioneers crafted their response.
After a scoreless inning in the bottom of the first, Transylvania answered back in the bottom of the second with a timely attack. A Taylor Henley single followed by two consecutive walks dealt to Gage Beavers and Rex Rogers set up a powerful inning. Coming off a 3-for-4 game on Wednesday, senior Hunter Jones came through with a base hit to drive in both to cut Anderson's advantage to 3 to 2. Senior Trey Simpson then earned a walk to load the bases as Rogers moved to third base.
The number two hitter in the order, Aaron Johnson stepped up with an outfield single to score Rex Rogers as he tied the game at three apiece.
Transylvania secured a slight upper hand in the third inning with a sacrifice fly RBI from Jones to bring in Henley for a 4-3 lead that would hold for three innings before a sixth inning solo run from Anderson to tie the game again.
Freshman reliever Daniel Seitzinger took over for Johnson after a diligent day on the mound with six strikeouts against no walks and 6.2 innings of toil. Seitzinger worked the next 1.1 innings to collect two strikeouts and a walk, holding Anderson in check as the Pioneers took the lead during his tenure.
The dramatic moment came in the bottom of the eighth inning as the red-hot Simpson drew a walk to lead off the inning and stole second base to quickly position his team for a key moment. A sacrifice bunt by Aaron Johnson moved Simpson to third with one out and time to convert. Batting from the right side of the box, the switch-hitting Johnson powered a base hit to right field bringing Simpson in for the game-winning run.
Kameron Schwartz came into the game in the ninth inning to close down Anderson's final rally; A double play gave the underclassman breathing room before Schwartz struck out the final Ravens batter of the night to collect the save.
The win propelled Transy to their third straight win and their seventh in their last 10 games.
The Pioneers are back in action on Saturday at noon for a crucial doubleheader against Anderson, who sits directly behind them for fifth place in the HCAC standings. Transylvania prepares to go for a set of key wins to keep the Pioneers in the conference tournament picture. The first game of the Saturday doubleheader begins at 12:00 p.m. at Marquard Field followed by a second game approximately scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.
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