Torrid offense guides Spartans to series sweep
BLUFFTON, OHIO – Manchester University flexed its offense muscle Saturday, April 27, in 15-4, 12-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference wins at Bluffton.
The No. 15-ranked D3Baseball.com and American Baseball Coaches Association Division III Spartans took the home team's pitching to task in both ends of the doubleheader.
In game one, they hammered 15 hits, five of which went for extra bases, to support a combined five-hit shutout from senior pitcher Kyle Konarski (Elkhart, Ind.) and junior pitcher Temujin Sery (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Konarski, moving to 8-0 on the season, struck out six over the first seven frames while allowing just one walk and giving up only five hits. At the plate, senior outfielder Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.) collected four hits, doubled twice, scored three runs and drove in four runs to top five Spartans who finished with multiple-hit efforts. Senior first baseman Brad Murphy (Fort Wayne, Ind.), junior third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.), sophomore second baseman Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) and sophomore designated hitter Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.) joined Bryce Murphy in the multiple-hit category, while Brad Murphy added two RBIs.
Game two saw more of the same. After both sides traded runs in the first, Manchester University (28-5-1 overall, 18-3 HCAC) plated five in the second and was off to the races. Nieman continued his season-long RBI blitzkrieg with five, thanks in large part to a three-run home run in the second and a double as part of a three-hit outing. Kimm also launched a home run, while senior outfielder Cody Schell (Granger, Ind.) and freshman catcher Elliot Ford (Rome City, Ind.) each ended with two-hit games.
The 15-run outpouring was more than enough for senior starting pitcher Justin Scott (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Scott went the distance, striking out eight over the seven innings to up his record to 6-1.
MU continues HCAC play with a trip to Defiance College of Ohio Tuesday, April 30. The Spartans and Yellowjackets collide in a single nine-inning game starting at 4:15 p.m.
NOTES: The sweep clinched a tie for the HCAC title, as MU leads Anderson by four games with four to play. … Niemann, with hits in both games, became the fourth Spartan hitter to craft a 10-games-or-longer hit streak as his stands at 11. … Brad Murphy's long on-base streak continued going to 23 games, while Kimm moved his to 16 in a row.