NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A gusty early spring wind and warm temperatures at Gratz Field provided fans in attendance of a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference – Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association battle between Manchester University and Calvin College plenty to cheer for Wednesday, April 26.
When the dust finally settled, the Spartans and Knights combined for seven doubles, a triple and five home runs. Calvin managed to hold off a furious comeback by their hosts, as the Black and Gold, despite slipping to 15-18, whittled down a pair of seven-run deficits to as little as one late in the contest before ending on the short end of a 16-12 final.
A pair of underclassmen wound up with big afternoons for Coach Rick Espeset's squad. Sophomore right fielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) crunched a pair of home runs as part of three runs scored and three RBI, while freshman catcher Joe Gallatin (Muncie, Ind.) homered and doubled while driving in four runs and scoring one. Other headliners for the home offense were senior third baseman Kevin Clarke (Cincinnati, Ohio) who went three-for-three; senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) and sophomore shortstop Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) who each connected a for a hit and scored two runs.
The Spartans open a pivotal four-game home stand Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, welcoming league-leading Rose-Hulman to North Manchester. Manchester University trails the defending champions by only three games going into the 12 p.m. starts for each afternoon. With inclement weather looming in the forecast, fans, friends and alumni are asked to check www.muspartans.com for more information.