NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University produced a double-digit hitting attack in the opening game of day two of the 2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships Friday, May 9.
Unfortunately, for the home fans at Gratz Field, it wasn't quite enough for the two-time defending tourney champions. Third-seeded Rose-Hulman rebounded from a 5-1 deficit with a seven-run rally over the final two innings and then withstood a furious bottom-of-the-ninth comeback attempt from the host Spartans to win an 8-7 cliffhanger.
MU (25-16) got out to a strong start. A two-out, three-run outburst in the bottom of the first, fueled by junior outfielder Kyle Norris' fifth home run of the season and an RBI triple from freshman first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.), added with a single score in the second put them up 4-0. The Black and Gold maintained the advantage all the way until the top of the eighth.
From there, the Fightin' Engineers (25-16) produced four scores in the eighth and three more in the ninth to take an 8-5 edge. A pair of extra base hits were at the forefront, as Donnie Waters drilled a two-run double, and Caleb Kissel unloaded the bases in the ninth with a two-bagger.
Manchester University made it tough on Rose-Hulman's bullpen. Szarenski and junior second baseman Logan Hug (Indianapolis, Ind.) plated runs with a fielder's choice and sacrifice fly. The rally nearly continued as, with a large crowd cheering on, the Spartans loaded the bases with two outs. However, a fly ball from junior outfielder Justin Miller (Yorktown, Ind.) that was headed for the gap in left center was cut off on a running grab for the final out.
Miller joined sophomore catcher Elliott Ford (Rome City, Ind.) in a power spark from the bottom half of the MU line-up combining for four hits. Hug and Szarenski ended with a pair of RBIs.
The loss dropped the conference champions into a must-win clash with either Anderson University or Franklin College.
NOTES: Hug and senior designated hitter Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) added to their impressive streaks. Hug's hit streak moved to 14, while Maringer pushed his on-base string to 20.Hug's on-base string also increased to 14 games in a row.