North Manchester, IN – The Transylvania baseball team bounced back in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with an impressive 14-3 victory against the Manchester Spartans after falling 4 to 1 in the opener of the day.
The Pioneers sealed up the final game of the three game series with the Spartans to move to 15-16 overall, and 11-8 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
The Pioneers currently sit in a third-place tie with upcoming opponent Earlham in the HCAC standings.
After posting 10 hits but with just four runs to show for in Friday's 9-4 setback to the Spartans, the Pioneers could not muster the volume of hits in the first game of Saturday against Manchester, tallying four hits against the host team's nine total hits.
Adam Boone also went the full eight innings for Transylvania, registering four strikeouts against one walk, and allowing just three earned runs through eight innings. However, the upperclassman's neutralization of Manchester's offense went unanswered on the scoring end.
All of Manchester's runs came in the first four innings of the ballgame, with a humble run arriving per inning for a 4-0 Spartans lead after four. Transylvania got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning on an RBI groundout by Connor Blevins that advanced home Simpson for the Pioneers' lone run of the game.
After a quick an efficient first game that ended in just over an hour and a half, the Pioneers unlocked their bats in the second game of the day en route to a robust output.
After both teams went scoreless in the opening inning of the second game of the doubleheader, the game possessed a different feel than the day's first early on. The Pioneers welcomed the second inning with a three-run outburst. Base hits by Kody Ross and Blevins put two men on with just one out, and Blake hart did the rest, connecting on an RBI single to drive in Blevins.
Jones followed suit with a single of his own to left field that drove in Hart from second base for a 2-0 Transy lead. Patrick Dragan followed pattern with a single to the right field alley to drive in Jones and quickly provide Transylvania with the scoring relief they had sought all weekend.
But Manchester was not deterred by the Pioneers' new signs of life, especially at home. The Spartans quickly struck back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to quickly tie the game at 3-3.
But after tossing goose eggs back and forth in the third inning, Transylvania laid the smackdown on the road the rest of the way, beginning with a potent fourth inning.
After Blevins led off the inning with his second consecutive double, Hart drove a deep shot to right centerfield for a two-run homer to take back the lead for the Pioneers. After Manchester subsequently retired two Pioneers, Daniel Seitzinger and Rex Rogers reignited the attack; Seitzinger's base hit to right field drove in Simpson for Transylvania's third run of the inning, and Rex Rogers delivered a left field double to score Seitzinger. Rogers took advantage of a throwing error to make his way to third, and Henley obliged with a double that scored Rogers.
Henley received a gift of his own, a wild pitch that allowed him to round his way to third base, and Kody Ross drove him in with another RBI base hit that pushed Transylvania to a six-run inning.
The onslaught continued for the Pioneers, who scored at least one run every inning the rest of the way before achieving an 11-run lead after seven innings that forced the game into an early conclusion that favored the road warriors.
Late game difference makers included Seitzinger, who had an RBI single in the fifth inning, and Jones who drove in two with his double in the sixth inning. Henley and Ross each registered RBIs in the top of the seventh for the final two runs of the weekend for Transylvania, who exited North Manchester, Indiana on a high note.
Three different pitchers saw the mound in Game Three of the series for the Pioneers, but it was long reliever Tom Banahan who got his fourth win of the season as he gobbled up innings four through six. Banahan struck out five as Manchester batters struck out eight times total against Transylvania in the final game of the series. The breakthrough for Transylvania was reflected in their 21 total hits, compared to seven for the Spartans.
The Pioneers return home before one last mini-trip to Mt. St. Joseph this Tuesday. Following the quick excursion to Cincinnati, Ohio, the Pioneers will host the last seven games of their regular season over the next two weeks for a berth in the HCAC tournament.
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