Lexington, Ky. – A Saturday afternoon doubleheader at Marquard Field saw both the Transylvania baseball team and Franklin College Grizzlies experience an extreme of highs and lows as the two teams exchanged a pair of 10-run wins.
In Game One, the Pioneers grabbed a 13-3 win over Franklin behind a combination of 13 hits and seven shutout innings from senior pitcher Braden Johnson. In Game Two, Franklin exchanged the favor to the Pioneers, using 18 hits to roll towards a 16-6 victory to force a Saturday split and capture two of three wins in the three-game series.
The Pioneers moved to 7-10 overall, and 2-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play after their first weekend series against an HCAC opponent in 2017.
The Pioneers began the game strong with a two-run posting in the bottom of the first inning. Transylvania created two runs on a two-out RBI single from junior catcher Blake Hart to score junior infielder Jared Williams. Hart then made his way home on a delayed steal to tab the other run of the first inning.
With the Pioneers holding on to a 2-0 lead, Johnson dug in and held Franklin in check as the Grizzlies remained scoreless through the first six innings.
As the Grizzlies grappled for answers, the Pioneers continued pouring it on, adding another four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Like the first inning, the Pioneers did most of the damage in a two-out situation.
With the bases loaded in the sixth, freshman infielder Nick Nelson drove in freshman infielder David McAnelly on an infield single. An infield error on the play by Franklin saw two more Pioneers touch home plate as well. Senior outfielder Connor Blevins collected an RBI single to score Nelson for a 6-0 lead.
Franklin found one run in the top of the seventh inning, and two more in the top of the eighth, but the Pioneers combined for seven more runs in the seventh and eighth inning to build the insurmountable 13-3 lead.
Williams led the Pioneers with a 2-for-4 game, two walks, and a stolen base. Hart added two hits in the game with an RBI.
Johnson collected the win to move to 3-1 on the season, allowing zero earned runs and seven strikeouts over seven innings of work.
The second meeting of the day between the Pioneers and Grizzlies appeared to be developing in the same manner as the first game. The Pioneers registered two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a base hit from Hart.
But the Grizzlies bats unlocked over the next four innings, as they scored one run in the second frame, and enjoyed a five-run release in the top of the fourth inning to take a 6-2 lead after four innings.
The Pioneers shuffled through five different pitchers as they tried to stifle the hitting streak of Franklin, but the visitors continued to enjoy a steady flow of runs through the later innings.
The Grizzlies collected 18 hits in the victory while Transylvania came up with 12 hits. Williams and Blevins each had three-hit days in the final game of the series, as Williams went 3-for-5 with a double, while Blevins went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a home run, and a walk.
The Pioneers return to play on Tuesday as they host the Mt. St. Joseph University Lions at Marquard Field. First pitch is set for 4:15 p.m.
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