Defiance, Ohio – The Transylvania baseball team completed a successful series up north against the Defiance College Yellow Jackets, winning two of three by splitting the final two games Sunday afternoon at Rutter Field.
In the first game of the day, Defiance broke through late to grab a 7-2 victory over Transylvania. The Pioneers returned the favor in the second game to prevail by a score of 5-3 in 12 innings of play. Transylvania posted three runs in the top of the 12th inning to pull ahead and complete a win in which it scored four of the final runs in the game.
Having captured Saturday's first game of the series against Defiance, the Pioneers sealed up a winning excursion for the weekend to Northern Ohio.
Transylvania improved to 5-3 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and 10-11 overall following its second full series against a conference opponent in 2017.
For the first six innings of the Sunday opener, the joust between Transylvania and Defiance served as a pitchers' duel. Senior pitcher Braden Johnson got the start for the Pioneers and blanked the Yellow Jackets for the first four innings of the game.
Defiance grabbed the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on a pair of RBI singles. The Pioneers erased the deficit in the top of the seventh when freshman designated hitter Dakota Cassady lifted a two-run homer, his second of the season, to tie things up at 2-2.
But in the bottom of the inning, Defiance collected four straight hits to grab a 4-2 lead, and freshman reliever Robert Young issued a bases-loaded hit by pitch to allow the final run of the inning.
Defiance tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 7-2 lead.
Johnson in the loss had six strikeouts against two walks, while Young worked the final 1.2 innings of the contest. Along with Cassady's lone RBIs of the game, junior first baseman Taylor Henley led the Pioneers offensively, going 2-for-3 with a walk.
In the final meeting of the series, the Pioneers saved their finest theatrics for the latter stages. After the first two innings witnessed scoreless baseball, Transylvania got on the scoreboard first as Cassady delivered an infield RBI to score sophomore outfielder Isaac Taylor for a 1-0 lead.
Defiance collected two runs against sophomore pitcher Daniel Seitzinger in the bottom of the third inning to grab a 2-1 lead.
Save for the blemish in that frame, Seitzinger remained poised through 5.1 innings of work, fanning three Defiance batters and giving up zero walks on the day. Neither team scored over the next two innings before the Pioneers found more success in the top of the sixth.
With one down, freshman catcher Cole Ratliff lifted a sacrifice fly RBI to center field to score Cassady from third base and knot the game at 2-all. But it was all Defiance would allow in the inning and the game remained tied.
Defiance appeared ready to retake the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Jackets loaded the bases with one out, but freshman reliever Collin Johnson stepped in and retired the two final batters of the inning to keep the game tied at 2-2.
Defiance put runners in scoring position in each of the next three innings, but the Pioneers found ways to escape all three times. With the Pioneers unable to muster the go-ahead run, the game traversed into extra innings.
Neither team found the run it sought in the 10th and 11th inning before Transylvania discovered its moment in the top of the 12th.
With one away, freshman outfielder Riley Wilbur blasted Transylvania's second home run of the day and the first in game two to break the tie and hand the Pios a 3-2 lead. The run proved to be a watershed moment in the inning for the Pioneers. Taylor followed the home run with a bunt single, and then stole second base.
With two outs, sophomore pinch hitter Jason Pastoor got on base after an infielding throwing error from Defiance's shortstop, which allowed Taylor to score for a 4-2 advantage. A crazy inning continued after Pastoor got to third base on a wild pitch. The Pioneers made the Yellow Jackets pay for this final miscue as Henley delivered a single up the middle to score Pastoor for a final security run.
Defiance scored on an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, but Johnson struck out the final Yellow Jacket batter of the game to wrap up a moving victory on the road.
Johnson collected the win for the Pioneers after striking out four and walking one. The Pioneers won the game despite being outhit 16 to 10.
Henley led the Pioneers with a 3-for-5 game and one RBI. Cassady and Taylor both went 2-for-4 at bat in game two, while Cassady drew a walk.
The Pioneers are back on the diamond Tuesday, April 4 at Marquard Field in Lexington as they take on the Mt. St. Joseph University Lions for the second time this season. First pitch is set for 4:15 p.m.
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