Terre Haute, Ind. – The Transylvania baseball team's first arrival to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament in three years concluded on Friday in a 13-4 defeat to the Anderson University Ravens in an elimination game of the 2019 conference tournament.
Taking on No. 3 Anderson after falling to Defiance in a high-scoring affair the day before, No. 5 seed Transylvania endured a six-run explosion by the Ravens in the top of the first inning to begin the Friday afternoon contest.
Though the Pioneers settled in as the afternoon went on, the six-run lead crafted by the Ravens provided the necessary launch towards their victory as Anderson advanced into the third day of tournament play.
Transylvania's 2019 season closes out with a record of 16-24 and 9-9 in the HCAC regular-season schedule, the Pioneers' best conference finish by winning percentage in three seasons.
The second HCAC tournament game in two days opened up with challenging terrain for the Pioneers as Anderson plated six runs with two outs in the top of the first inning. Four consecutive walks spurred the opening burst by the Ravens as Transylvania starter Jake Schmidt was retired in the frame. Jared Leuthart came on in relief and threw out an Anderson runner attempting to steal for the final out.
Transylvania answered back in the bottom of the first with an RBI single from Wade Lopiccolo, one of two on the day for the sophomore infielder as the hit scored Trey Medford from second base to put the first run on the board for the Pioneers.
Anderson continued to build its lead against the Pioneers, scoring four more runs from the third through sixth innings to grow a 10-1 advantage. Lopiccolo and Medford collaborated again for the second run of the day in the bottom of the sixth as Lopiccolo drove a single up the middle to forge a 10-2 score in favor of Anderson.
The Ravens mustered three more runs in the top of the eighth to complete their output for the day; in the bottom of the inning, Austin Butts drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded for the third run of the day for Transylvania.
The final run and hit of the season came courtesy of Isaac Taylor, one of two seniors on the Pioneers in the bottom of the ninth. A player known for his tenacity and speed produced a hit befitting of his playing style with a bouncer up the first-base line. Though the Raven infielder tried to glove the ball along the line and tag out Taylor in one motion, the senior deftly eluded the tag to reach first base for a hard-earned infield single. One at-bat later, T.J. Keck came home from third on a wild pitch for the fourth and final run of the game.
Anderson collected 16 hits on the day to nine for Transylvania. Hudson Chastain had a team-high three hits on a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Four pitchers toed the mound for the Pioneers as Leuthart worked a team-high 4.1 innings. His successor, freshman Devon Hart, tallied a game-high four strikeouts while Robert Young closed out the final 1.2 innings and yielded no runs.
The 2019 campaign for the Pioneers entailed a collection of unique and landmark achievements; in addition to making a return to the HCAC Tournament for the first time since 2016, the Pioneers recorded a win over nationally-ranked Webster on opening weekend, Chastain shattered the program's single-season hits record on the way to leading the conference in hits and finishing second in batting average, the Pioneers swept defending champion Franklin along with Earlham to start conference play, and Transylvania climbed up to fifth in the conference standings, two seasons removed from a last-place finish in the HCAC.
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