ANDERSON, IN - For the first time since 2003, the Anderson University Ravens baseball team has won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament title. AU (31-11) knocked off Manchester University (25-15) Saturday, 9-6.
Anderson went 3-0 in the tournament and has now won 11 consecutive games. They went 14-1 this season at Don Brandon Field. Manchester came into the game averaging over 14 runs per game in the HCAC Tournament.
Devon Traylor (Jasper, IN/Jasper High School) was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player after hitting 9-14 with seven RBI, four runs scored, and a clutch home run in today's game. Traylor's fourth inning blast tied the game at three, and the Ravens did not trail in the game after that. "That home run changed the game in every way," said head coach David Pressley. "Devon is our most vocal leader, even as a sophomore, and it is great to see him get this recognition."
Manchester went up 2-0 with one run in each of the first two innings. In the first, Jordan Nieman hit a sacrifice fly. In the second, Justin Miller hit a home run down the right field line.
Anderson cut the score in half in the bottom of the second, when Jonathan Eilbracht (Terre Haute, IN/Terre Haute North High School) singled in Jordan Ball (Anderson, IN/Anderson High School). The Spartans then went up 3-1 in the top of the fourth on an Eric Knepper RBI single. Traylor tied the game in the home half of the fourth, and the Ravens took the lead for good in the fifth inning. In the fifth, Traylor had an RBI single, Austin Young (Southport, IN/Southport High School) had an RBI on a fielder's choice, and Jeremy Shelmadine (Ft. Wayne, IN/Carroll High School) hit a two-RBI double.
With Anderson leading 7-3, Manchester came back with two runs in the seventh. Sean Knepper and Kyle Norris each had an RBI for MU. Anderson answered in the home half of the seventh with two runs to go up 9-5. Young hit an RBI-single, then Shelmadine followed with his second double of the game, scoring Young.
In the top of the ninth, Manchester scored on a bases-loaded walk with two outs, but Nicholas Nunez (Winona Lake, IN/Warsaw Community High School) struck out Elliot Ford to end the game and series.
"When your nine-hole batter is the MVP of the tournament, you have a good team," added Pressley. "Our veterans played like veterans and really hung in there. It is great to see them finish. 'Finish' has been our mentality the last couple weeks, and all of our guys took that to heart and finished the job."
In the game, Shelmadine went 3-5 with three RBI, and Traylor was 2-4 with one run and three RBI. Young went 1-4 with two runs and two RBI. Eilbracht scored three runs, while Ball scored two. Ben Yoder (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville High School) earned the win on the mound, improving his season record to 7-0. He tossed 6.1 innings, allowing five runs off nine hits. Lane Hanzel (Liberty, IL/Liberty High School) pitched 2.1 innings in relief and did not allow a hit. Nunez earned his fifth save of the season, recording the final out of the game.
Anderson will now play in the NCAA Regional round. Location, times, and opponents will be announced tomorrow, May 10.
2015 Baseball All-Tournament Team:
MOP Devon Traylor (Jasper, IN/Jasper High School), Anderson
1B Tailur Szarenski, Manchester
3B Jordan Nieman, Manchester
SS Trevor Kimm, Manchester
OF Justin Miller, Manchester
DH Eric Knepper, Manchester
OF Josh Hoeing, Rose-Hulman
SS Jonathan Eilbracht (Terre Haute, IN/Terre Haute North High School), Anderson
P Jake Eaton (LaPorte, IN/LaPorte High School), Anderson
OF Jeremy Shelmadine (Ft. Wayne, IN/Carroll High School), Anderson