Near Perfection: Walter’s gem lifts Spartans to HCAC sweep

Near Perfection: Walter’s gem lifts Spartans to HCAC sweep

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University and Coach Josh Dzurick were looking for some key wins to put an end to a recent rough patch where the Spartans had dropped eight straight and nine of their last 10.

They got that Thursday, April 13. Junior pitcher Madisyn Walter (Hanna, Ind.) pieced together a dandy of a nightcap in the circle, allowing just one Rose-Hulman runner to reach base to send the Spartans to a 5-0 decision, and sophomore third baseman Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.) drilled a shot down the left field line that plated freshman first baseman Shakira Perez (Elkhart, Ind.) with the winning rally in a wild 9-8, eight-inning thriller in the opener.

Walter, who had flirted with a perfect game/no-hitter in a Florida spring break trip win over Crown College of Minnesota, gave the home fans at Spartan Field more thoughts of the same in the nightcap. She weaved her way through the first five frames with a crafty display of pitching to put 15 Rose-Hulman hitters out. In the top of the sixth, the Fightin' Engineers' Cassidy Yeomans drilled a shot to the gap in right center that ended the perfect game and no-hit bid. Walter knuckled down from that point and retired six of the next seven to wrap up her second shutout and sixth win of the season.

The opener was a back-and-forth offensive battle early. Manchester University got on the board in the second behind a two-run double by sophomore catcher Sydney Thompson (Logansport, Ind.), but Rose-Hulman answered plating eight runs in the top of the third on six hits. Dzurick's crew answered right back in the bottom of the third, tallying six scores on five hits, highlighted by a two-run safety off the bat of junior center fielder Mikayla Deisler (Goshen, Ind.). From that point, freshman Tristyn Koon (Kokomo, Ind.) and visiting hurler Michelle Korf kept both sides quiet, forcing an extra frame. Koon kept the potential lead run on third in the top half, while Skeens' heroics pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the inning.

Manchester University (9-17-1 overall, 2-6 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) returns to action Tuesday, April 18, resuming a four-game home stand when they take on Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association member Hope College. First pitch is 3:30 p.m.

NOTES: Sophomore designated player Krystal Sellers (Bourbon, Ind.) had a big afternoon, going four-for-four in game one and two-for-three in the second contest for a six-for-seven afternoon. The totals bolstered her batting average over 80 points (.255-.328) … Junior second baseman Laurren Ladwig (Crown Point, Ind.) was next in line at the plate with six hits, including a home run, while Perez tallied five safeties.