NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Manchester University baseball team faced the Heidelberg University Student Princes in a non-conference battle on Thursday afternoon at Gratz Field. Thursday's game was a rescheduled contest with the Student Princes from earlier in the week. Thursday's game was also the 2019 home opener for the Spartans.
The Student Princes escaped with an 8-7 win after Manchester's furious rally in the 9th inning fell just short. The Student Princes ran their record to 10-3 and have a 4-1 mark against ranked opponents this season.
Nick Rush (Terre Haute, Ind. / Terre Haute North) clubbed his third home run of the season with a runner on in the bottom of the 1st that gave Manchester an early 2-0 lead.
The Student Princes battled back with two runs in the top of the 3rd. Manchester would regain the lead in the home half of the 7th after an error by Heidelberg allowed Joe Henschel (Huntertown, Ind. / Carroll) to score from second.
Heidelberg's offense came alive late as HU scored a combined six runs in the 8th and 9th innings.
Manchester would not go down without a fight and compiled a furious rally in the bottom of the 9th. After a balk allowed a Spartan runner to score, freshman Ryan Mueller (Cincinnati, Ohio / Cincinnati Christian Hills Academy) singled home Matt Pritz (LaPorte, Ind. / LaPorte). Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Wayne) then singled home another run and Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind. / Warsaw) drew a bases loaded walk that got the Spartans within 8-7. Heidelberg escaped the bases loaded jam after Nick Rush flew out to centerfield.
Five different Spartans tallied two hits against the Student Princes. Rush and Henschel both scored twice on Thursday.
Manchester will look to bounce back on Saturday March 23 against Ohio Wesleyan University. The Spartans will host the Battling Bishops in a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Gratz Field.