Hanover College’s baseball squad swept a doubleheader against Manchester University to claim two out of three games in the season-opening Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference series. The contests were held at the Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind.
Hanover, which has won four of its last five outings, rallied from a 4-0 deficit to notch a 6-4 win in the first contest. The Panthers bolted to a 6-0 lead and held on for a 6-4 triumph in the series finale.
In game one, Manchester scored three times in the second inning and added another run in the top of the third to stake the early lead.
Sophomore centerfielder Chris Ares (Versailles, Ky.) singled, swiped second and later scored on a base hit by junior designated hitter Ryan Johns (Cincinnati, Ohio) to start the Panthers’ comeback in the bottom of the third.
Hanover, which totaled 15 hits, trimmed the margin to 4-2 in the fourth as junior second baseman Matt Newman (Bloomington, Ind.) led off the inning with a single and eventually scored on an infield grounder by senior rightfielder Kolton Chapman (Lynnville, Ind.).
The Panthers knotted the score at 4-4 with two runs in the fifth. Senior shortstop Zack Shultz (Greenwood, Ind.) singled and later crossed the plate on a Johns’ double. Newman poked a two-out double to score Johns from second with the equalizing run.
Hanover surged into the lead with two runs in the eighth. Chapman reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually scored from third on a ground ball to the right side of the infield by Shultz. Junior catcher Nolan Hall (Knightstown, Ind.), who had reached on a one-out single, later scored on an infield error.
Senior pitcher Chip Hockenbury (Elizabeth, Ind.) recorded the win with two and two-thirds innings of no-hit relief. Hockenbury took over for senior Andrew Roby (Shepherdsville, Ky.) in the seventh.
Roby scattered six hits and four runs through six and one-third innings. He walked three and tallied a season-high nine strikeouts.
Johns and Ares each finished with three hits, a run scored and a stolen base. Johns had three hits in four trips to the plate with two doubles and two runs-batted-in. Ares was 3-for-5 with a double.
Newman, Hall and freshman third baseman Alec Dunn (Louisville, Ky.) posted two hits apiece.
Hanover (6-7; 2-1 HCAC) used a four-run third inning and two more runs in the fourth to grab a 6-0 lead in the second contest.
Manchester (7-9; 1-2 HCAC) cut into the margin with two runs in the top of the sixth, then added a runs in the eighth and ninth innings for the final tally.
The Panthers had five hits in the third inning. Johns smacked a bases-loaded, two-run double to jumpstart the explosion. Newman pushed a run home with a single and senior leftfielder D.C. Craig (Carrollton, Ky.) hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate the fourth run.
Hanover had just one hit in the fourth inning, but used two key errors to nudge the advantage to 6-0 with a pair of runs.
Sophomore hurler Nick Brunner (North Vernon, Ind.) tossed six innings to pick up his first collegiate win. Brunner (1-2) allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
Junior Alex Lantz (Indianapolis, Ind.) sealed the victory with three innings of relief. He surrendered three hits and two runs, with two walks and four strikeouts.
Shultz, Brooks, Chapman and freshman catcher Austin Holloway (St. Leon, Ind.) each had two hits to spur the Panthers’ 12-hit attack.
Published Saturday, March 22, 2014