UPLAND, IND. – A pair of late-inning comebacks lifted D3Baseball.com No. 19-ranked Manchester University to a non-conference sweep of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' member Taylor University Tuesday, March 11.
The Spartans posted four runs over the seventh and eighth innings in the opener to win 7-5. Single tallies in the seventh and eighth of the nightcap completed the doubleheader victory as part of a 2-1 nightcap decision.
A trio of MU hurlers and TU's starter Luke Hunter hooked up in a game two pitching duel. Senior Temujin Sery (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was touched for just one unearned run in four frames while striking out three, and the duo of senior Josh Copp (Sharpsville, Ind.) and junior Sean Liedtky (Walkerton, Ind.) came out of the bullpen to allow just one hit while striking out four. Hunter was just as steady for the hosts going six and a third with just four hits surrendered and four strikeouts.
Copp wound up the winner, moving to 2-0 on the year, while Liedtky garnered his first save. The Spartans' offense manufactured the tying run in the 7th behind a leadoff double from junior outfielder Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.), a Taylor error and a fielder's choice grounder from sophomore outfielder Chad Gindelberger (Souh Bend, Ind.) that plated Norris on a bang-bang play at the plate. An inning later, the eventual winning run crossed with Norris' second double of the game that scored sophomore second baseman Sean Knepper (Bremen, Ind.).
Both teams held the advantage in game one. A two-run MU rally in the second gave them the early leg up, but Taylor rallied and held a 4-3 edge after six innings. Gindelberger and junior outfielder Justin Miller (Yorktown, Ind.) each delivered RBI singles in the top of the seventh for a 5-4 lead, but the Trojans answered in the home half with a solo home run. The decider occurred in the eighth with Knepper hammering a solo shot high over the left field fence at Winterhofer Field, and Gindelberger driving in an insurance run with a ground out.
Freshman relief pitcher Cory Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) picked up the win. He went three strong frames giving up only two hits and striking out three.
Manchester University (6-2) is scheduled to put its six-game win streak on the line Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, against Ohio Athletic Conference member Heidelberg College.
NOTES: Norris' five hits and two runs scored were among the offensive highlights … Senior infielder Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and sophomore infielder Aaron Wells (Cowan, Ind.) added three hits each, while Gindelberger and Wells finished with a pair of RBIs each.