NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Strong bullpen pitching and clutch hitting turned out to be a Manchester University recipe for success Saturday, April 21.
Coach Rick Espeset's side produced its sixth double-digit run outing in game two with the aid of a six-run sixth inning rally. Sophomore designated hitter Joe Gallatin (Muncie, Ind.) made sure it would be an afternoon for the Class of 2018 to remember, clouting a two-run home run to left field as part of a three-hit, five-RBI outing. Junior outfielder Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and junior second baseman Christian Smith (Fortville, Ind.) scored two runs apiece to add into the 10-3 triumph.
Senior Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) had a nearly perfect four and a third innings of relief in game one, not giving up a hit and striking out five to keep the MSJ offense at bay on the Gratz Field diamond. While Eck was rolling through the Lions' order, the Spartans' offense, rallying from a 4-3 deficit after four and a half innings, posted single runs in the fifth and sixth to claim a nailbiting 5-4 win. Freshman shortstop Michael Pinarski (Goshen, Ind.) singled up the middle to send home senior outfielder Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) with the eventual winning run in the sixth inning, highlighting an eight-hit attack that also saw Riley, sophomore first baseman Nick Rush (Terre Haute, Ind.) and Knepper gather two-hit efforts.
Manchester University (16-15 overall, 6-6 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) resumes Senior Weekend action Sunday, April 22. North Coast Athletic Conference foe Wabash College comes to town for a 12 p.m. single nine-inning match-up.