Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 27, 2018

Braxton Riley Baseball

Junior Braxton Riley is up to bat during a Senior Day, April 21, against Mt. St. Joseph.

Photo provided 

MU Sweeps Mount St. Joseph in Crucial HCAC Clash

Kody Smith 

The final home-stand of the 2018 campaign proved to be successful for the Manchester baseball squad, as the team secured two victories over Mount St. Joseph on Saturday, April 21 to keep postseason aspirations alive. The Spartans rallied to a 5-4 victory in game one, followed by an offensive explosion in game two, tallying 10 runs in route to a 10-3 triumph over the Lions.

The Spartans held an early advantage in the first contest between the two conference foes, compiling three runs in the second inning to take the 3-0 lead. Sophomore first baseman Nick Rush doubled to the right-center field gap, scoring two runs in the process. Freshman shortstop Michael Pinarski reached first via an error to follow the double, as Rush scored easily following the mistake made on the defensive side of the baseball.

Senior Stephen Pinarski started the contest on the hill for Manchester, as the right-hander cruised through the first four innings, surrendering just one run. However, the Lions finally got to Pinarski in the fifth inning, striking for three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Senior pitcher Brandon Eck was called upon to make the relief appearance out of the bullpen, and the MU veteran delivered the performance of a lifetime. Eck recorded the win following 4.1 innings of work, striking out five Lions and surrendering no hits. The offense capitalized on the brilliant pitching efforts of Eck, scoring one run in the fifth and one run in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, which held up for the remainder of the contest.

Game two was a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings of play, as neither side allowed a single run as the contest remained scoreless. However, it was the Lions who struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning to snag a 2-0 lead. However, MU would not be silenced for long. In the bottom of the fourth, senior third baseman Hunter Lane drilled an RBI-single into left field giving the Spartans their first run of the day. The following inning, MU took the lead, thanks to a three-run shot off-the-bat of sophomore designated hitter Joe Gallatin, his first of the year, giving the Spartans a 4-2 advantage after five innings of play. The offense erupted in inning number six, as six runs crossed the plate, as the black and gold held a 10-2 lead following the offensive onslaught. Junior right fielder Braxton Riley delivered an RBI-single, while Gallatin capped off his five-RBI performance with a two-run single as well. Junior center fielder Tyler LaFollette added to the hit parade as well, drilling a base hit into center field, scoring two runs.

Senior Taylor Kopplin threw 114 pitches over six innings of work to record his fifth win of the 2018 campaign. The righty allowed just two runs on eight hits while striking out five Mount St. Joseph hitters to secure the win on the hill. Senior Garrett Phelps, junior John Magers and sophomore Craig Overpeck delivered quality efforts out of the bullpen surrendering just one run on four hits over three combined innings.

The Spartans will conclude the 2018 season with five consecutive road games. The team will travel to Transylvania on Saturday, April 28 for two contests with the Pioneers. The first pitch for game one will be thrown at approximately 1:00 p.m. The squad will meet Taylor University on May 1 at 6:00 p.m, and will round-out the year with a double-header at Earlham on Friday, May 4. The teams will duke it out under the lights, with the first pitch time for game one slated for 6:00 p.m. All statistics from these contests can be found at