BLUFFTON, OHIO – Junior Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and senior Cory Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) combined for six strikeouts over nine innings, and Manchester University's offense took advantage of some late-inning heroics in its series opener at Bluffton University Saturday, April 1.
Eck, in route to his first 2017 victory, kept the host Beavers (9-6 overall, 2-3 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) off balance throughout his seven and a third frames of work, surrendering nine hits but being nicked for only one run. Dyson Bowman, his starting counterpart, was a difficult test for the Black and Gold (6-11 overall, 3-3 HCAC), as he K'ed 13 and gave up only three hits over seven strong innings.
However, Coach Rick Espeset's crew broke through against BU relief hurlers Taylor Gambrell and Dante D'Andrea to the tune of five runs on five hits over their last two at-bats to forge the 5-1 victory. Sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.), sophomore pinch-hitter Collin Bice (Waterloo, Ind.) and senior designated hitter Lucas Gramman (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) each delivered RBI singles in the eighth as part of a four-run rally, while LaFollette came back in the ninth to crack a run-scoring double to conclude a three-hit afternoon at Memorial Field in the Emory Sears Athletic Complex.
The two sides continue their weekend set at BU Sunday, April 2, with a pair of nine-inning contests set for a 12 p.m. start.