Transylvania baseball forces near-stunner against No. 2 Webster before falling in extra innings in 2020 season opener

Johnson pitch

Memphis, Tenn. - The Transylvania baseball team staged a game-tying comeback in the bottom of the ninth before falling to the No. 2 Webster University Gorloks, 8-3 in its 2020 season opener on Friday afternoon at Stauffer Field on the campus of Rhodes College.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth against the second-ranked team in the nation, the Pioneers kept hope alive with a captivating three-run rally with two outs to send the game into extra innings.

The Gorloks retook the lead in a productive five-run 10th inning to claim the precarious victory over the Pioneers, which also served as Webster's first game of the season.

Webster worked its way to an eventual 3-0 lead by the third inning as the Gorloks scored one run on a bases-loaded walk in the first inning against Transy starter Devon Hart and later added two more in the third on a two-run single.  

Hart scattered five hits and four walks to three strikeouts over the first three innings while also stranding eight runners in his showing. Hart gave way to Collin Johnson, who pitched a dynamic outing over the next four innings. The senior held the Gorloks scoreless, yielding only one hit, no walks, and striking out four in relief.

Gritty pitching from Johnson and Ashton Plymale, who stepped onto the mound in the top of the eighth inning, set the stage for a dramatic ninth frame.

In the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Andrew Winningham drove a one-out base hit into centerfield and Devyn Wilson-Cowan did the same on the next at-bat to put two runners aboard. Riley Willbur then grounded out for the second out but moved each runner ahead to second and third.

With the game hanging in the balance, Hudson Chastain put the ball into play which was then mishandled by the Webster pitcher, allowing both Wilson-Cowan and Winningham to score, cutting the Webster advantage to 3-2.

T.J. Keck fueled the comeback on the next at-bat, hitting a long shot to left field that was dropped by the Gorloks left fielder, scoring Chastain for a 3-3 deadlock.

The game ventured into the top of the 10th inning where Webster took advantage of two Pioneer errors and a wild pitch to plate five runs for a sudden 8-3 lead.

Parker Tuszynski found his first career hit on a single into right field to spur a potential one-out rally for the Pioneers, but Grant Perry and Wilson-Cowan were each retired to end the afternoon.

Jared Leuthart took the loss for the Pioneers while Gorlok reliever Brendan May was credited with the win.

Webster tallied 10 hits on the day to six for the Pioneers with six different Pios each providing one hit apiece. The Pioneer pitching corps combined for nine strikeouts to Webster's seven.

Transylvania returns to play tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time to face the No. 18 Coe College Kohawks at Stauffer Field. The matchup against the Kohawks is the second of three games in a season-commencing weekend trek to Memphis for the Pioneers.

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