Berea, Ky. – Deadlocked for seven and a half innings, the Transylvania baseball team saw the Berea College Mountaineers break loose for the only three runs of the game in a 3-0 setback Friday night at the BC Sports Complex.
Senior pitcher Tom Banahan went the distance for the Pioneers, allowing two earned runs for the outing while registering five strikeouts. Stifled by Banahan for most of the night, the Mountaineers finally discovered their offensive breakthrough against the Pioneers in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Pioneers dropped to 2-6 after Friday's game, an offensive struggle that saw the Pioneers double up the Mountaineers in hits. Berea's starting pitcher Griffen Norris matched Banahan through 7 1/3 innings and five strikeouts of his own before retiring from the contest.
The Pioneers mustered waves of offensive pressure early and often, but could not find the final payoff against the Mountaineers on the road as Transylvania stranded runners in each of its first three innings.
The Pioneers placed two men on base to lead off the game as junior shortstop Jared Williams and junior catcher Blake Hart each drew walks to get aboard, but freshman designated hitter Dakota Cassady flew out to end the inning.
The Pioneers placed three hitters on base in the following inning, but junior infielder Taylor Henley was caught stealing after a base hit, and two consecutive strikeouts by Pioneers brought the inning to an abrupt close.
While the Pioneers pursued one inning of their long-awaited output, Banahan continued to hold down Berea. But the Mountaineers took advantage of a stolen base and an error to score their first run of the game in the eighth inning. With two outs in the eighth, the Mountaineers collected back-to-back doubles to tab two more runs for the 3-0 lead and eventual margin of victory.
Transylvania again placed two men aboard in the top of the ninth inning as Henley led off with a double and freshman infielder Nick Nelson walked. But Berea quickly came up with three straight outs to halt Transy's comeback bid.
Henley led the Pioneers with a 2-for-4 night at the plate. Williams and junior outfielder Rex Rogers joined Henley with one double apiece.
Transylvania receives its chance for a reprieve against Berea with a home doubleheader at Marquard Field on Sunday against the Mountaineers in Lexington. Originally scheduled for Saturday, the series has been pushed back one day to account for a predicted snowfall in Lexington and allow requisite time to improve field conditions. Sunday's activities between Transylvania and Berea begin at 12:00 p.m.
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