NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Senior pitchers Temujin Sery (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Dylan Padgett (Kirklin, Ind.) each turned in stout starting efforts, while Manchester University's offense managed key rallies in the late innings of each contest to sweep previous Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference unbeaten Rose-Hulman6-4 and 4-2 Saturday, April 5.
The two victories, in front of a crowd of over 100 at Gratz Field, moved the Black and Gold into a tie for first with Rose-Hulman on the conference standings. The sweep also pushed the squad's current win string to six in a row.
Sery, going to 3-0 overall and against the league, got things started on the right foot in the opener, striking out five while being nicked for three earned runs on 12 hits over eight workmanlike frames in game one. Rose-Hulman (12-6 overall, 7-2 HCAC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead after an inning and a half with single tallies in the first and second. MU (13-9, 7-2 HCAC) responded with single runs in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings and then added the deciding two-run eighth inning rally fueled by two Fightin' Engineer errors and an RBI double from freshman first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) to give the home side a 6-3 lead.
Offensive heroes were numerous in game one for the home side. Sophomore third baseman Sean Knepper (Bremen, Ind.), junior center fielder Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.), junior left fielder Justin Miller (Yorktown, Ind.) and sophomore catcher Elliott Ford (Rome City, Ind.) each had two-hit contests. Miller added a home run that nestled just inside the right field foul pole, while Knepper and Ford joined Szarenski in the doubles' section. Ford and senior designated hitter Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) finished with two RBIs each.
The nightcap saw more of the same. Rose-Hulman jumped out with two in the third and rode the arm of their starter Karson Nixon on a shutout into the seventh. Three visitor errors, an RBI single from Ford and an RBI double from junior second baseman Logan Hug (Indianapolis, Ind.) turned into a 3-2 Spartans' lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Padgett threw eight sparkling innings with five strikeouts and no earned runs allowed.
Ford lifted the offense with another multiple-hit effort, going two-for-three with a run scored and an RBI. Senior Josh Copp also cinched up a big afternoon in the second contest, as he picked up a save in each game and saw his scoreless innings string go to 11 straight.
MU wraps up its weekend set with Rose-Hulman Sunday, April 6. A single, nine-inning game begins at 12 p.m.
NOTES: Norris, with a modest six-game hitting streak, saw his on-base string go to 10 successive games. He also moved over the .400 mark in season batting average (.402) during the afternoon … MU's pitching staff has enjoyed the nine conference game to date, sporting an impressive 2.73 earned run average. Sery and Padgett are a combined 5-0 against the HCAC, while Copp has been dazzling with four saves in six outings which includes 13 strikeouts, only eight hits surrendered and no runs allowed in 11 innings … The Spartans have won four of the last five over Rose-Hulman.