Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania baseball team secured a trip to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with a split against the Bluffton University Beavers at Marquard Field on Sunday afternoon in its 2019 home finale.
The Pioneers rolled to a 10-4 victory in game one before falling to the Beavers 7-4 in game two.
With the split, the Pioneers wrap up regular-season play with a record of 16-22 overall and 9-9 in conference play, good for fifth place in the final HCAC standings. With their fifth-place finish, the Pioneers clinched a conference tournament berth for the first time since the 2016 season. The Pioneers will have the No. 5 seed in the upcoming HCAC Baseball Tournament which begins Thursday morning.
Hudson Chastain went 4-for-10 on the afternoon with two runs and three RBI. With his third hit of the day on Sunday, the sophomore became the new Transylvania single-season hits leader with 65 hits on the season, breaking the previous record of 64 set by Thomas Tolliver in 2009. Chastain finished the regular season with 66 hits.
Pitching for Transylvania in game one was Jake Schmidt. The sophomore was electric on the mound, striking out five and allowing just one run in six innings of work. Jared Leuthart picked up the save for Transylvania after striking out two and allowing just one earned run over the final three innings of the game.
Riley Willbur led off the bottom of the first with a double to centerfield. Later in the inning, Austin Butts plated two runs with a single through the left side. Devyn Wilson-Cowan finished off the inning with a two-run triple to centerfield that put the Pioneers ahead 4-0.
Leading the Beavers 7-2 in the seventh and stepping up to bat with the bases loaded, Chastain smacked a bases-clearing double down the left-field line to extend Transylvania's lead to 10-2.
The Beavers added a pair of runs in the ninth as they tried to spark a rally, but Leuthart struck out Bluffton's final batter to secure the 10-4 victory for Transylvania.
With the Pioneers' trip to the conference tournament secured, Transylvania employed a platoon pitching system in game two as 10 different Pioneers gave up five runs on eight hits and combined for 10 strikeouts in the loss.
The Pioneers once again jumped out to an early lead thanks to three runs on hits from Chastain and Blair in the bottom of the first.
Transylvania extended its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third when Chastain scored as Blair was attempting to steal second base.
Trailing Transylvania by four runs, the Beavers orchestrated a late-game comeback by scoring seven runs over the final five innings to escape with a 7-4 victory in game two.
The Pioneers will open play in the HCAC tournament on Thursday, May 11 as they face off with the No. 4 seed Defiance College Yellow Jackets. First pitch between the Yellow Jackets and the Pioneers is set for 12:30 p.m. at Art Nehf Field, home of the No. 1 seed Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers.
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