Lexington, KY – The Transylvania baseball team got off to a hot start in their final regular season series, as they defeated the Bluffton Beavers in walk-off fashion on Friday afternoon by a score of 5-4 at Marquard field.
Transylvania received another strong performance from junior pitcher Braden Johnson, who scattered seven hits over as many innings of work, while only giving up three earned runs on the day. In addition to the solid pitching, the Pioneers also outhit their opponents 13 to 7 in the contest.
The Pioneers jumped out to an early lead as senior outfielder Trey Simpson sent a home run ball towering over the centerfield wall in the bottom of the first inning. Simpson would prove to be the focal point of the Pioneers offense on the day, as he would fall a double short of hitting for the cycle in the home contest.
After Bluffton added a run in the top half of the second inning, both teams were silent offensively in the third. However, Transylvania's bats would soon come to life, as they added three runs on seven hits over the next two innings, highlighted by a Hunter Jones RBI single in the fourth and a Kody Ross RBI double in the fifth.
After five innings of work, Transylvania boasted a 4-1 lead over the visiting Panthers.
However, the Transylvania lead evaporated as the Panthers came storming back in the top half of the eighth. Three Hanover hits paired with a Transylvania error sent the game into the bottom half of the frame with a new score of 4-4. The Pioneers attempted to respond in the bottom of the eighth, but failed to bring a run across as they left two runners stranded on base.
Reliever Tom Banahan left his mark on the game, as he came in to record the final six outs of the game while allowing zero runs and zero hits. Banahan was especially effective in the top of the ninth, as retired the first three Hanover batters in order.
The Pioneers got right to business in the bottom of the ninth, as Simpson continued his fantastic day at the plate with a lead-off triple. Two batters later, Connor Blevins gave the home crowd a treat as he brought Simpson home on a well-hit sacrifice fly to the right field.
The win propels the Pioneers into sole possession of second place in the HCAC standings with a record of 16-8 (20-16 overall) with only two games remaining before next weekend's conference tournament.
The Pioneers will take the field again Saturday, as they face Hanover in the final two regular season games. The first pitch of the doubleheader is set for 12:00 p.m. at Marquard Field followed by a second game scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.
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