Pioneers baseball weathers pair of national challengers in Birmingham

Pioneers baseball weathers pair of national challengers in Birmingham

Birmingham, Ala. – The Transylvania baseball team journeyed to the campus of Birmingham-Southern College to wage battle against a pair of nonconference challengers Saturday at Striplin Field.

In their first game of the day, the Pioneers endured a 3-0 loss to the Adrian College Bulldogs. In the nightcap, Transylvania took on the No. 3 nationally-ranked Birmingham-Southern Panthers. After forging an early tie with the Panthers, the home team went on to take a 6-2 win against Transy.

Tom Banahan went seven innings in Transylvania's bout with Adrian, tabbing six strikeouts in the loss. Transylvania and Birmingham-Southern combined for 21 hits in their tussle, before the Panthers' three-run seventh inning put the game out of reach.

Game One

The Pioneers began their morning in pursuit of offense against a wheeling-and-dealing Tommy Parsons, who recorded the nine-inning shutout. Banahan did his best to match wits against Parsons, going seven innings while allowing just two walks against six strikeouts.

Offensive opportunities were limited, as the Pioneers allowed five hits while Adrian yielded just two. Freshman infielder Nick Nelson provided a two-out base hit in the bottom of the second inning, while junior outfielder Rex Rogers came through with a single in the ninth inning.

Adam Boone once again showed his endurance by appearing in both games. Boone grabbed the five final outs of the game and two strikeouts in the process.

Game Two

The second game of the day for Transylvania offered a vastly different offensive outlook than that of its morning outing. A 3-for-4 evening from Connor Blevins set the tone for Transy's challenge against the Panthers.

The Panthers got on the board first in the second inning as Preston White scored from third for a ­1-0 lead. Transylvania answered in the following frame, as a sacrifice fly RBI from junior shortstop Jared Williams brought home freshman infielder David McAnelly for a 1-1 ballgame.

Birmingham-Southern strung together two more runs over the next two innings to claim a 3-1 lead after four.

Senior pitcher Braden Johnson got the start against Birmingham-Southern and went six innings, gathering three strikeouts and restricting any major outbursts from the number three team in the nation until late in the game.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, two singles placed the Panthers in control. A collection of base hits plated three Panthers as the Pioneers fell behind, 5-1.

Transylvania came back with a busy frame; McAnelly led off the top of the eighth inning with a well-executed bunt to reach base, and stole second to move into scoring position. But before Williams delivered a hard-hit single, McAnelly was caught stealing on the basepaths. An RBI single from Henley followed, but the Panthers were able to escape the inning without any further damage.

Trailing 6-1, the Pioneers tried to manifest one final comeback as Blevins led off the ninth inning with a single and reached second base on a passed ball. But the Panthers stood firm and registered two back-to-back outs to conclude the contest.

The Pioneers will close out their trip to Birmingham with one game on Sunday against Wisconsin-Oshkosh. First pitch between the Pioneers and Titans is set for 12:00 p.m. eastern time.

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