NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University pieced together its second successive big comeback to highlight Senior Day 2014 against Hanover College Sunday, April 6.
The Spartans, trailing the Panthers 6-0 at one point in game one, rolled up eight tallies over fourth through sixth frames to forge an 8-8 tie. Just as the nightcap against Franklin College had concluded less than 24 hours prior, this contest went to extra innings.
With the international tiebreaker rule in place of putting a runner on second to open an inning, junior pitcher Ashlea Nash (Gas City, Ind.) weaved around the threat retiring Hanover in order. HC starter Leah Kemmerer, who entered the afternoon among the conference leaders in wins, was nicked for back-to-back singles from senior third baseman Kylie Planck (Valparaiso, Ind.) and freshman outfielder Emilee Liston (South Bend, Ind.). She managed to record two outs after that before junior shortstop Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.) made the Black and a Gold a winner with a walk to close the 9-8 final.
Sophomore outfielder/designated player Kaile Niezgodski (South Bend, Ind.) sparked the game one offense going three-for-five with four RBIs and two doubles. She joined Planck and Liston with three hits each, as MU's top three in the order went a blistering nine for-14 at the plate.
The Black and Gold (5-13, 2-4 HCAC) started the nightcap where they ended game one. A two-run rally, spotlighted by a two-run double from Willmann, put them up 2-0. They held the advantage until Hanover (14-9 overall, 4-4 HCAC) pushed across a combined seven runs in the third and fourth innings to break the game open en route to a 10-4 win.
Willmann, Planck, sophomore outfielder Ashley Stahl (Wheatland, Ind.) and senior second baseman Alicia Cleveland (Lagrange, Ind.) each compiled multiple-hit contests with Willmann's three safeties topping the quartet.
MU continues HCAC action with a busy set of three doubleheaders in five days in the coming week. The Spartans open the stretch against Defiance College of Ohio at Spartan Field Wednesday, April 9, with a 3:30 p.m. first pitch.
NOTES: Planck pushed her team-leading hit streak to six games and increased her on-base streak to 11 consecutive outings. Liston moved her on-base stretch to 10 successive contests … The weekend 2-2 record left the Spartans well within the conference post-season tournament picture. They trail Hanover by one game for fourth and Rose-Hulman by only two for third.