Schmidt, Johnson shine on the mound for Transylvania baseball in home-opening series vs. Chicago

Johnson delivering a pitch

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania baseball team completed a busy three-game series against the University of Chicago Maroons on Saturday afternoon at Marquard Field with a two-game split in the 2019 home opener.

Opening up the weekend in nearby Wilmore on the campus of Asbury University on Friday night, the Maroons used big early innings to pick up a 16-3 victory over the Pioneers in the series opener.

The series continued on Saturday as the Pioneers played at home for the first time in 2019 and delivered a bounce back 7-3 win in the afternoon opener of the doubleheader. Chicago answered with a 6-1 win in Saturday's nightcap to close out the series.

The Pioneers unleashed the offensive firepower in Saturday's opener against Chicago, outhitting the Maroons 9 to 8. Lead-off hitter Riley Willbur keyed the attack with a 3-for-5 day at the plate and an RBI.

Hudson Chastain added a two-hit game going 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs batted in, and Henry Molloy produced a 2-for-4 day at bat.

Jake Schmidt got the start on the mound for the Pioneers and was effective in four innings with five strikeouts and no hits allowed before giving way to Collin Johnson, who worked the final five innings of the game, fanning four batters and allowing three earned runs.

Austin Butts scored Willbur on a sacrifice fly RBI in the bottom of the first inning to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead, which held until the fifth inning. Chicago tied up Transy at 1-1 on an RBI double.

The Pioneers quickly went back on top as Devyn Wilson-Cowan sprinted around from second on a bunt to give back Transy a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the frame.

Butts provided more insurance for the Pioneers in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing home Chastain on an RBI to raise Transylvania's lead to 3-1. After Chicago pulled back a run in the top of the seventh, the Pioneers scored four runs over the seventh and eighth innings, punctuated by a two-run base hit by Chastain in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

Johnson achieved his first win of the season for the Pioneers.

In the second game of the day, the Maroons got on the board with two runs in the top of the first inning and scored twice more in the top of the third to surge ahead, 4-0. Chicago knocked Transylvania starter Colton Hartig out of the game with the early push; Hartig finished his day with two strikeouts, two walks, and three earned runs in 2.2 innings of work.

Transylvania utilized four pitchers the rest of the way as the home team sought an answer for the Maroons' run production in Game Two. The Pioneers only allowed two earned runs over the final six innings but Chicago pitcher Kyle Petri held Transy in check through seven innings of work.

The Pioneers found their lone run in Game Two in the bottom of the fifth inning after the Maroons had secured a 6-0 advantage. Wade LoPiccolo drove in Wilson-Cowan with an RBI single for the final run of the day for either side.

Chicago produced seven hits to Transy's four in the final game of the series.

Transylvania returns to play on Saturday, March 9 at Marquard Field when the Pioneers host Alma College for a three-game series. The Pioneers will play a doubleheader versus the Scots on Saturday at 12 Noon Eastern Standard time, followed by a final game on Sunday at 12 Noon Eastern Daylight time.

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