Black and Gold split regular season finale, clinch HCAC outright title
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University used a strong balance of offense and starting pitching to earn a series-closing win over Transylvania University Saturday, May 3.
Behind the arm of junior Sean Liedtky (Walkerton, Ind.) and an offense that produced 12 hits, four of which were for extra bases, the Spartans (24-15 overall, 18-7 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) topped the visiting Pioneers 10-5 in front of a large crowd at Gratz Field. Liedtky surrendered only four runs on 12 hits over seven frames to even his record at 4-4.
Despite trailing 3-1 after three and a half innings, the home team gave its followers plenty to cheer about in home halves of the fourth and fifth. Junior shortstop Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) drilled his ninth home run of the season, a three-run shot to right center field, to highlight the fourth, while junior left fielder Justin Miller (Yorktown, Ind.) snuck a double down the right field line, just inside the first base bag, to drive in two more scores and up MU's lead to 8-3. After TU (18-22, 12-14 HCAC) crept within 8-4 with a run in the seventh, senior designated hitter Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.), one of six Spartans playing their final regular season home contest, laced a two-run double to right center in the eighth to ice the outcome.
The doubleheader opener was a back-and-forth affair. MU held 4-1 and 8-5 leads before the visitors answered with four-run rallies in the sixth and eighth to earn a 9-8 decision that gave them the series victory. Sophomore third baseman Sean Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) and junior second baseman Logan Hug (Indianapolis, Ind.) each drove in three runs to lead Manchester University.
The Black and Gold take the top seed into next week's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament at Gratz Field. They match up against fourth-seeded Franklin College Thursday, May 8, in one of two day one contests.
NOTES: The Spartans' league championship was their sixth all-time and third in the last four years … Maringer pushed his on-base streak to 18 straight games, while Hug's hitting and on-base strings moved to 12 games in a row each.