Pioneers baseball pushes Franklin but drops HCAC opening doubleheader on the road

Game 2 score

Game one score

Westfield, Ind. – The Transylvania baseball team entered into the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference portion of its schedule with a pair of closely-waged losses against the Franklin College Grizzlies on Saturday evening at Grand Park.

Facing a team which carried a 15-1 record into the day in the Franklin Grizzlies, Transylvania issued early blows against the Grizzlies in both contests, but Franklin ultimately came from behind to clinch wins to grow their overall record to 17-1. Transylvania dropped to 8-11 overall and 0-2 in conference play.  

In game one, the Pioneers asserted an early two-run lead behind sharp hitting from sophomore catcher Cole Ratliff and a pair of runs by freshman infielder Wade Lopiccolo to take a two-run lead before the Grizzlies rallied late to grab an 11-3 win.

In the second game of the evening, Transylvania amassed four runs in the first two innings for a two-run advantage, but Franklin answered back once more with three runs in the fourth inning to pull ahead for a 7-5 victory.

Ratliff set the tone in game one for the Pioneers, sending an RBI double into left field in the first inning to score sophomore designated hitter Austin Butts for a 1-0 lead. The hit was one of two in the first game for Ratliff, who delivered two of Transy's five hits in the contest.

The Pioneers tacked on another run in the third inning for a 2-1 lead via a run by LoPiccolo on a wild pitch. Transylvania built a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning after Lopiccolo reached on an infielding error, allowing sophomore outfielder Riley Willbur to come home.

But the Grizzlies got back on track in the bottom half of the inning to tie up the game at 3-all on a two-run homer by Drew Naumovich. In the seventh inning, Franklin went ahead for good on back-to-back RBI base hits for a 5-3 lead. The Grizzlies expanded the lead to eight in the following inning with a six-run eighth frame to put the game out of reach.

Freshman pitcher Drew Demler took his first loss of the season in a relief role. Demler and freshman starting pitcher Evan Hall combined for 10 strikeouts on the day.

The Pioneers began the second game with another offensive spark, this time on two runs from LoPiccolo and freshman infielder Hudson Chastain. The Pioneers followed with two more aggressive runs in the second inning as freshman catcher Michael Blair stole home and sophomore outfielder David McAnelly was driven in on an RBI double by Chastain to take a 4-2 lead against the Grizzlies.

Franklin answered the Pioneers yet again in the fourth inning, scoring three runs on an RBI triple by Ryan Erlandson to move ahead, 5-4.

The Grizzlies piled up additional comfort in the seventh inning as they added two more runs on a pair of RBI singles for a 7-4 advantage. Transylvania senior infielder Taylor Henley scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to bring the Pioneers within two, but the Grizzlies retired the side in the ninth inning to finish off the doubleheader sweep.

Transylvania returns to play on Monday, April 2 to visit the Centre College Colonels in Danville, Kentucky. The game is a makeup of the Whitaker Bank Ballpark game scheduled for the previous Wednesday that was postponed due to rain. Monday's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start.

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