NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Three straight scoring hits in its final at-bat helped Manchester University keep pace for the top spot on the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings Wednesday, May 3.
The offense had many heroes during a brisk early May evening. Freshman designated hitter Joe Gallatin (Muncie, Ind.) turned in a three-for-five day at the dish, extending his hit streak to 12 straight games. Senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.); junior Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) and sophomore catcher Matt Pritz (LaPorte, Ind.) all wound up with two safeties apiece, as Pritz added two big RBI to his resume to lead the Spartans (19-18 overall, 16-8 HCAC).
Pritz, senior third baseman Kevin Clarke (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Gallatin each got to the Anderson University bullpen in the bottom of the eighth, as Clarke's safety sent home the tying and eventual winning runs of an 8-6 decision, sandwiched between scoring base knocks by Gallatin and Pritz, as part of a five-run rally that wound up the final regular season home stand with four straight victories. Continuing to wind down the regular season on a high note didn't come easy for Coach Rick Espeset's crew, though.
The Ravens jumped on their hosts in the top of the first as third baseman Thomas Parker drove a pitch over the right field wall for a grand slam and a quick 4-0 advantage, an edge they kept over the first seven and a half frames. Manchester University closed the deficit to 4-3 with a pair of tallies in the fourth and one in the fifth, as sophomore second baseman Christian Smith (Fortville, Ind.) and Szarenski plated the runs in the fifth behind a single and double, respectively, while Pritz started his big evening with a run-scoring safety in the fifth. AU (13-22 overall, 7-15 HCAC) rebuilt their lead to 6-3 with a tally in the sixth and one in the eighth before the Black and Gold pieced together their comeback.
Manchester University, trailing league-leading Earlham College by two games for first, takes to the road for a weekend set against Franklin College Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6.