Lexington, KY – With three games remaining in the regular season, the Transylvania baseball team officially secured a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason berth as they defeated the Hanover Panthers, 5-3 at Marquard Field on Tuesday.
The Pioneers completed a three-game sweep of Hanover with the victory to improve to 15-8 in the HCAC Standings, remaining tied for second place with Manchester who defeated Anderson, 2-0 on Tuesday as well.
With Manchester and Transylvania both 3.5 games ahead of Anderson with three games remaining in the regular season schedule, both teams officially sealed tournament bids.
As has become the pattern in their single midweek games, the Pioneers received a true team effort from their battery (13 team hits) and their pitching rotation, as four pitchers worked together to hold the Panthers to three runs on the day, and combining to strikeout 10 Hanover batters.
Kameron Schwartz started for Transylvania and carried the load admirably through the first four innings, giving up just one run and tallying four of the Pioneers strikeouts.
The Pioneers used an RBI single by Rex Rogers in the bottom of the second to get on the scoreboard before Hanover tied the game in the next half inning with an RBI single of their own.
The Pioneers took off for good in the bottom of the third inning when Jared Williams led off the frame with a single, and Kody Ross came through with a double two batters later. With two runners aboard, Hunter Jones delivered a base hit that scored both runners for a 3-1 advantage.
Daniel Seitzinger took the baton from Schwartz in the fifth inning and marched through the next two innings, striking out two batters to get the win with the lead in hand. Transylvania's lead grew to four runs when a single by Williams drove in Trey Simpson and Cameron Lord, putting the Pioneers safely ahead.
The upperclassman Tom Banahan came in to replace Seitzinger in the seventh, and while Hanover mustered two runs, Banahan rung up numerous batters to hold the rest of the Panthers order in check. Adam Boone came into the ninth inning and closed down the Panthers, adding on one last Pioneer strikeout for size as he collected the save.
Trey Simpson led the way with a 3-for-4 day and a walk, propelling the Pioneers' offense to appropriate heights. Williams' two RBIs were key in victory as he enjoyed a 2-for-5 day and a walk in the designated hitter position. Ross and Rex Rogers also had multi-hit days for the Pioneers, who now look ahead to their final regular season series with Bluffton.
The chase for the second seed in the HCAC begins Friday at 4 p.m. when the Pioneers host the Beavers in a crucial series. On Saturday, the Pioneers will honor their seniors with a Senior Day celebration before a scheduled 12 noon scheduled first pitch against the Beavers in their Saturday doubleheader.
Tied with second-place Manchester, the Pioneers must likely win every game in Bluffton to put themselves in position for the No. 2 seed after the Spartans took two of three games from the Pioneers two weeks ago.
The Pioneers improved to 19-16 overall as they continue their gradual rise as the regular season comes to a close.
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