Florence, Ky. – The Transylvania baseball team enjoyed another solid outing by Collin Johnson and a trio of hits from Trey Medford and Hudson Chastain in game one of a conference doubleheader against the Mount St. Joseph University Lions in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference twin bill on Tuesday afternoon at UC Health Stadium.
Medford and Chastain, the conference's reigning Hitter of the Week, combined for six of Transylvania's 14 hits in a 6-2 game one victory over the Lions. The Lions bounced back in the second game of the day, thwarting a comeback effort by the Pioneers to win 5-4 on a walk-off RBI in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Pioneers' 5-0 start to conference play was halted.
The Pioneers moved to 12-12 overall and a league-high five wins with a 5-1 HCAC record as their season-best six-game win streak was snapped in the nightcap. The Lions moved to 8-9 overall and 1-1 in HCAC play.
Taking the hill as the reigning HCAC Pitcher of the Week, Johnson held firm once again on Tuesday, notching four strikeouts and scattering three hits over six innings of work as the Pioneers heated up offensively.
Transy complemented Johnson's shutdown pitching over the first three innings with four runs between the second and third frames. The Pioneers went up 1-0 in the second on an RBI single by Nick Nelson to score Trey Medford.
The Pioneers took control of the game in the following inning with a three-run output, catalyzed by Riley Willbur's lead-off single. Devyn Wilson-Cowan followed with a base hit down the left field line and Chastain scored Willbur on the following at-bat with a base hit into centerfield. Michael Blair became the fourth straight Pioneer to log a hit to begin the inning as he scored Chastain with an RBI base hit to left for a 3-0 Pioneer lead. Medford collected his second hit of the game with a one-out RBI single to round out the scoring in the top of the fourth inning.
Mount St. Joseph found one run off Johnson in the bottom of the fourth inning while drawing the first walk of the season against the junior, ending a 33-inning streak of not allowing a walk to begin the 2019 campaign. It would be the lone walk of the day conceded by Johnson as he picked up the Tuesday win to improve his record to 3-0.
Along with Medford and Chastain, Willbur and Wilson-Cowan each had multi-hit games in the Tuesday opener. Max Medley blanked the Lions in the ninth inning to collect his third save of the season.
Game two saw Devon Hart log the longest outing of his young career in his fifth start. The freshman delivered a dynamic performance through the first five innings as the Lions were held scoreless. Mount St. Joseph's Jason Fischer was equally potent opposite Hart as he struck out six Pioneers in five innings while allowing two hits and no walks.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth inning when the Pioneers took advantage of a sequence of miscues by Mount St. Joseph. After striking out to lead off the inning, Wilson-Cowan advanced to first on a passed ball and then stole second base. Blair then made his way to first on an infield error as Wilson-Cowan motored home for a 1-0 Transy lead.
The Pioneers added a run in the following inning as T.J. Keck blasted his first career home run, a solo shot over the left field fence for a 2-0 advantage.
The Lions eventually had success against Hart, retiring the freshman in the seventh inning with two outs as two runners reached base via singles and a third made it aboard on a throwing error to load the bases. Mount St. Joseph suddenly surged ahead on back-to-back base hits that gave the hosts a 3-2 lead.
The Lions scored again in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double for a 4-2 upper hand and suddenly found themselves three outs from victory. But the Pioneers swung back again as they threatened another comeback story. Keck drew a one-out walk to start the rally in the top of the ninth and Nelson drove a single through the right side to put two runners aboard. With two down, Willbur delivered a clutch two-run single into right field to score the tying runs for a 4-4 score.
But the Lions had the final word in the bottom half of the inning as Mount St. Joseph's Ryne Poli was hit by a pitch with one out. Simon Schaefer delivered the game-winning RBI double on the next at-bat to find the fifth and final run.
Jared Leuthart was saddled with the loss for the Pioneers, working the final 1.2 innings and yielding four hits. Mount St. Joseph gathered 12 hits to seven for the Pioneers in game two; the Pioneers were led by Willbur's 2-for-5 day at the plate and a 2-for-4 game for Wilson-Cowan.
The Pioneers return to action on Saturday, March 6 as they continue their HCAC schedule on the road at the Defiance College Yellow Jackets. The HCAC doubleheader is slated for a 12:00 p.m. start from Craig A. Rutter Field.
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