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Late comeback leads MU to split

LEXINGTON, KY. – Run-scoring singles from junior pitcher Ashlea Nash (Gas City, Ind.) and senior second baseman Alicia Cleveland (Lagrange, Ind.) in the top of the seventh enabled Manchester University to gain an 8-7 win over Transylvania University Saturday, April 12.

The two-run rally helped MU (7-14 overall, 4-6 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) forge a key league split with the Pioneers (11-19 overall, 5-5 HCAC). TU built a 7-2 lead after four innings before the Spartans mounted their comeback. It started with four runs in the top of the fifth, as sophomore designated player Kaile Niezgodski (South Bend, Ind.) lofted a two-run homer, and Cleveland, as part of a two-hit, three-RBI effort at the plate in the nightcap, drove in two more with a single.

The opener saw a 12-run Transylvania offensive attack over the second through fifth innings break open the contest. Trailing 10-1 after four frames, the Spartans attempted to rally with four in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh before the hosts put out the threat for a 12-9 final. Junior shortstop Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.) continued her recent meteoric rise at the plate with two hits, including a home run, and four RBIs, while Niezgodski, freshman outfielder Emilee Liston (South Bend, Ind.), and junior outfielder Shannon Stephan (Granger, Ind.) also turned in two-hit outputs.

MU resumes its four-game weekend journey Sunday, April 13, at the College of Mt. St. Joseph of Ohio. First pitch at Kinder Morgan Softball Complex is 2 p.m.

NOTES: The split left the Black and Gold sixth in the league, just a game and a half out of the top four … Willmann's season batting average shot up to .313 after her game one totals which was a new personal season high … Nash's late-inning offensive heroics helped the junior pick up the game two pitching decision. It was her fourth victory of the season.