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March 15, 2013

MU, IWU battle to high-scoring draw

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Dodging raindrops throughout, Manchester University and Indiana Wesleyan University produced a strong set of offensive attacks in a non-conference contest at Gratz Field Friday, March 15.

The Black and Gold offense had three players end with multiple-hit contests. Senior first baseman Brad Murphy (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and junior third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.) each had three hits, while sophomore second baseman Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) had two safeties. The Wildcats' senior duo of Quinn Nofziger and Craig Dollens finished with three hits each.

The Spartans, going to 8-0-1 on the season, battled back from a 3-1 deficit after one frame and 7-4 disadvantage after four-and-a-half innings. They gained one-run edges at each turn, scoring three in the second for a 4-3 lead and five tallies over the fifth and sixth innings to lead 9-8. The visiting Wildcats (5-7-1), trailing 9-8 into the eighth had an answer of their own with a single run for a 9-9 tie.

 MU nearly ended it in its final at-bat, as sophomore infielder Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) reached on a one-out infield single and made his way to third due to a passed ball and wild pitch. Sophomore Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.) hammered a shot to the fence in right field but IWU freshman outfielder Caleb Birkey, who had just entered as a defensive switch, made the grab up against the fence to end the game in a tie.

Manchester University continues its busy weekend with a three-game series at Ohio Athletic Conference power Heidelberg Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17. The Spartans and Student Princes play one nine-inning game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and two nine-inning games beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday.

NOTES: Nieman continued his runs-batted-in success Friday. He hammered a three-run home run over the shrubs beyond the left center field fence in the bottom of the sixth to move to 25 for the season. Nieman has recorded multiple-RBI outings in seven games to date. Nieman has a current skein of 10 consecutive games with an RBI dating back to the final game of last season. … Freshman pitcher James Hackworth (Warsaw, Ind.) k'ed three Wildcats and had a spiel of nine straight batters retired after being touched for three runs in the first until the visitors scored a run in the fourth.