Manchester University battled Hanover College in a close-knit Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference twinbill as part of a four-game weekend road trip Sunday, April 7.
The Spartans took advantage of freshman designated hitter Kaile Niezgodski (South Bend, Ind.) launching her fifth homer of the season to aid sophomore pitcher Maureen Lund (Huntington, Ind.) in her quest for eighth win in the opener. Niezgodski cranked a grand slam in the third inning to give Lund enough offensive support, while freshman catcher MacKenzie Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) added two hits.
Lund moved her record to 8-2 with a complete-game, five-strikeout performance as part of a 6-4 final. Game two was just as closely-contested, as MU held 3-2 and 5-4 leads before the Panthers plated two in the bottom of the sixth and closed out a Spartan rally in the 7th with a runner on third to preserve a 6-5 win.
Senior left fielder Kayla Yates (Delphi, Ind.) and Williams each clouted two hits in game two. Junior first baseman Janikka Tillotson (Brownsburg, Ind.) drove in two runs.
Manchester University began the weekend trip with a pair of losses at Franklin Saturday, April 6. The Grizzlies took 12-1 and 11-8 wins.
Sophomore shortstop Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.) spotlighted a furious Spartan comeback in the nightcap with a three-run double. She joined junior third baseman Kylie Planck (Valaparaiso, Ind.), Tillotson and senior infielder Danielle Howell (Denver, Ind.) with two hits each to top the offense. Junior infielder Alicia Cleveland (LaGrange, Ill.) led the way in the opener with two hits and a run scored.
The Spartans begin a four-game week Wednesday, April 11, with a trip to Defiance College of Ohio. First pitch against the Yellowjackets is set for 3:30 p.m.