MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – A good mix of offense and pitching led Manchester University to a pair of wins Monday, March 4.
The Spartans, improving to 6-0, rallied from a 4-3 fifth inning deficit with seven runs over the fifth and sixth innings to upend Eastern University 11-6 in the opener. Senior hurler Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.) came back in game two and went the distance against Catholic University as part of an 8-3 win, striking out seven and allowing just one earned run.
Murphy's pitching performance received offensive support from the bat of junior third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.). Nieman doubled twice and drove in four runs in game two, while freshman infielder Sean Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) also finished with three hits in his first collegiate start.
Senior shortstop Corey Marchant (Fort Wayne, Ind.) drilled a run-scoring double, while senior outfielder Cody Shell (Granger, Ind.) drove in two with a single during the decisive five-run sixth inning rally in game one. MU ended with 10 hits, as Shell, sophomore infielder Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) and senior infielder Brad Murphy (Fort Wayne, Ind.) each registered two-hit games. Sophomore Sean Liedtky (Walkerton, Ind.) gained the win with two and a third innings of hitless pitching.
Manchester University returns to action for a home-and-home series against in-state rival DePauw Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10. Start times for the nine-inning doubleheaders are 12 p.m. Saturday at Walker Field in Greencastle and 1 p.m. Sunday at Gratz Field.
NOTES: The Black and Gold ended their six-game stay at The Ripken Experience with a .379 batting average and 2.50 earned run average. … Along individual lines, Marchant's .500 batting average topped the starters' list, while Nieman drove in 18 runs and had an .815 slugging percentage with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. … Murphy led the pitching staff efforts with three appearances, a 0.82 earned run average, two saves, a win and 11 strikeouts. He was joined by junior Dylan Padgett (Kirklin, Ind.) with a complete game win under his belt. … The Spartans' defense turned five double plays and finished with a .948 fielding percentage during the span.