Manchester bests Pioneers 9-4 in first meeting of weekend series

Manchester bests Pioneers 9-4 in first meeting of weekend series

North Manchester, IN. – The Transylvania University men's baseball team connected for 10 hits against Manchester but fell short to the Spartans, 9-4 on Friday at Gratz Field.

Catcher Blake Hart continued his recent string of hot hitting with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, all of which were extra-base hits including a home run. Hart's preceding teammate in the order, first baseman Taylor Henley, also had a productive day with a 2-for-4 showing at-bat.

Both Henley and Hart also scored all four of Transylvania's runs on the day.

Senior centerfielder Trey Simpson, junior right fielder Connor Blevins, and senior second baseman Kody Ross all recorded one hit each while senior left fielder Hunter Jones added two more.   

Junior pitcher Braden Johnson received the Game One start and worked through seven innings, allowing five strikeouts and nine hits as he was saddled with the decision. Taylor Miller worked the final inning of the game for the visiting Pioneers and retired the side.

Manchester got the quick start they sought, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but it wasn't long before the Pioneers responded; in the top of the second inning, Henley reached first base on a hit to center field and Hart smacked a home run to the right center field wall to quickly knot the game up at two-all.   

After a scoreless third inning for both sides, the Pioneers briefly took a 3-2 lead on a Hunter Jones double that brought home Blake Hart from second base. But a focused Manchester squad answered with four runs on four hits in the bottom half of the inning to claim a 6-3 advantage against the Pioneers.

Manchester padded their lead with a run in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings before the Pioneers answered with a run in the top of the eighth. Again, Hart and Henley factored into the scoring equation as an infield error allowed Henley to come home after a Hart double had moved the first baseman over to third base.

Transylvania was also snakebitten by five errors on the afternoon as the Spartans took full advantage.

Transylvania is now 10-7 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and 14-15 overall following Game One of the series.

The Pioneers will try to rebound as they take the field again on Saturday for a doubleheader with Manchester scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon, followed by an approximate 3:00 first pitch in the second game of the day. 

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