WESTERVILLE, OHIO – A furious five-run rally in the latter innings wasn't enough for Manchester University to upend D3Baseball.com top-25 ranked Otterbein University Wednesday, March 22.
The Spartans' offense, one day removed from a 10-hit, 11-run blitzkrieg in a win against fellow Ohio Athletic Conference member Heidelberg University, gave early notice to the host Cardinals and their fans at Fishbaugh Field that the non-conference match-up would be a battle.
Senior outfielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.), as part of a two-home run, three-RBI, two-runs-scored afternoon, launched a solo shot in the top of the first as part of a two-run visiting effort. Junior starting pitcher Stephen Pinarski (Goshen, Ind.) kept things nip-and-tuck early, surrendering only two runs on five hits over four innings as part of a 2-2 tie, but, in the home half of the fifth, Otterbein used a lead-off walk and error to stage a five-run, four-hit, two-out campaign to give themselves a 7-2 lead. Manchester University (3-8) answered that with a five-run comeback in the top of the seventh, as Schultz delivered a two-run round tripper, and sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) tagged a three-run bomb for a 7-7 tie. The two sides kept it that way until the home team managed a run in the ninth due to a double, wild pitch and single for the 8-7 decision.
Senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) finished with a hit and two runs scored, and senior designated hitter Lucas Gramman (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) contributed an RBI to aid the offense. Coach Rick Espeset's bullpen was strong again, allowing only one earned run on six hits over the final three and two thirds innings.
The Spartans raise the curtain on the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference slate Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25. Mt. St. Joseph University visits Gratz Field for a 4:15 p.m. single nine-inning contest Friday and a 12 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.