Westfield, Ind. – The Transylvania baseball team opened up the 2018 season with a 12-4 defeat to the Wabash College Little Giants on Friday evening at Grand Park.
The Pioneers began their season as road warriors due to a five-game weekend series involving Transy, Wabash, and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh being moved from Lexington's Marquard Field to northern Indianapolis in advance of stormy weather expected to drench the Bluegrass region all weekend.
Friday night's game at Grand Park witnessed a debut for many young Pioneers, including freshman pitcher Nick Craddock, who got his first career start. Craddock yielded five earned runs on six hits, three walks, and two strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.
A trio of freshmen joined Craddock in making their collegiate debuts, including Luke Wilson, Colton Hartig, and Joey Yancey. The four freshman combined to work all nine innings for Transylvania on Friday.
Wabash struck the first blow on Friday, notching two runs in the second inning, two more in the fourth, and enjoyed a four-run fifth inning to go up 8-0 midway through the game.
Transylvania found its first hit of the 2018 season in the second inning when freshman infielder Wade Lopiccolo delivered his first career hit, smacking a two-out double into right field.
Transylvania picked up another hit in the following inning as sophomore catcher Cole Ratliff hit a single into center. The Pioneers nearly scored in the bottom of the third as sophomore outfielder Austin Butts reached first on an error by the Wabash right fielder, but Ratliff was thrown out at home on the relay as the Pioneers remained scoreless.
Transylvania scored for the first time in 2018 in the fifth inning as freshman outfielder Jonathan Giles led off with a single. Senior outfielder Isaac Taylor moved Giles over to third and senior infielder Jared Williams reached first on an error, allowing Giles to cross home.
Trailing 12-1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Pioneers mounted three runs on a run by Lopiccolo via a Wabash error, an RBI single from Williams, and an RBI single from Butts.
Lopiccolo signed off in his debut with a 3-for-4 day at the plate while Giles finished the night 2-for-4. Craddock took the loss while Wilson led the pitching staff with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
The Pioneers are back in action on Saturday, February 24 as they face Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 1:00 p.m.
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