NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – The beginning of a four-game weekly Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference slate for rivals Manchester University and Anderson University saw plenty of offense Wednesday, April 16.
The two teams combined for two doubles and five home runs as part of a 9-5 AU win that saw the regular season series end in a split. The defending champions dropped back into a tie with Rose-Hulman for the league lead at 11-4 each, while Anderson, the preseason favorites, climbed just a game back at 10-5.
MU (17-11 overall) got out to a strong start in front of its home crowd at Gratz Field. Junior shortstop Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.), picking up where he left off after a 10-for-20 finish at the plate last week, hit a solo shot to left center for a 1-0 lead in the first and then drove in a run in the second along with sophomore catcher Elliott Ford (Rome City, Ind.) who knocked in a tally with single for a 3-0 advantage. Anderson (17-9) answered quickly with five runs over the third through fifth frames in a rally that featured a home run for a 5-3 edge.
AU kept up the charge with four scores over the final three frames that included round trippers in every inning. The host Black and Gold did close to within 7-5 in their half of the seventh on RBI singles from senior designated hitter Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and freshman first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) but couldn't close the gap further, as a liner off the bat of senior outfielder Ryan Lehrman (Hoagland, Ind.) was corralled as part of an inning-ending double play.
Junior outfielder Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.), Ford and Szarenski each closed the game with three hits to guide the Spartans' offense. Kimm ended with two runs scored and two RBIs to go with his home run.
Manchester University resumes league play Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19, at the College of Mt. St. Joseph. Game times are 2 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday at the University of Cincinnati's Marge Schott Stadium.