LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 26, 2017)- After dropping the middle game of a three game set 13-3, the Franklin College baseball team was able to bounce back to win the final game of the weekend by a final score of 16-6 to take the HCAC series over Transylvania University.
Game 1: Transylvania-13, Franklin-3
In the first game on Saturday, the Transylvania offense was able to pressure the Franklin defense into committing nine errors. Pioneers' starting pitcher Braden Johnson stymied the Grizzlies' offense, working seven strong innings. Johnson allowed only two hits, allowed one unearned run, and struck out seven to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Junior pitcher Mitchell Caster took the loss for Franklin, his first of 2017, to drop to 3-1. Caster tossed six innings, allowed seven hits and two earned runs. Caster struck out six on the afternoon. Caster is currently tied for the HCAC lead with three victories, ranks second in strikeouts, and third in the conference with a 1.65 earned run average. Caster's 32 strikeouts only trails teammate Jordan Clark, who leads the HCAC with 33 punch outs.
Game 2: Franklin-16, Transylvania-6
In game two, the script flipped and the Grizzlies offense erupted for 16 runs and 18 hits. Franklin was able to score at least one run in seven of the nine innings played. After falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first, junior Frank Podkul gave the offense the spark, blasting a solo home run to lead off the top of the second inning.
The Grizzlies took the lead for good in the top of the fourth inning, scoring five runs in the frame. Freshman catcher Alex Mis singled in sophomore second baseman Jordan Clark, who reached on ground rule double, to tie the game 2-2. Freshman right fielder Jarrod Smith followed with a single of his own. Sophomore centerfielder Tanner Nicholson drew a two out walk to load the bases. Junior catcher Jackson Freed delivered the big hit, lacing a two-run single up the middle to drive in Mis and Smith. Freed and Nicholson came around to score on a Transylvania error the next at bat.
Franklin continued to expand the lead in the top of the fifth inning, all of the damage once again coming with two outs. Clark led off the frame with a single to centerfield. After recording two outs, sophomore shortstop Sam Claycamp launched a two run home run. Nicholson followed up with a home run of his own, expanding the lead to 9-2.
The Pioneers were able to respond with a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, but the Franklin offense kept adding on runs. The Grizzlies added two more in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Clark and an RBI single by junior designated hitter Mitch Schuman. Franklin delivered the knockout blow in the top of the seventh. Podkul grounded out to second base with the bases loaded, driving in Claycamp. Freshman left fielder Tommy Waites followed with a two-run double, driving in Freed and Nicholson. Claycamp concluded the scoring in the top of the eighth inning, hitting his second home run of the game, this time a solo shot.
Claycamp led the way, hitting the two home runs and driving in three runs. Claycamp is currently tied for the HCAC lead with five home runs and ranks third in the conference with 19 RBI. Podkul added a double and drove in two runs. Mis finished the game with three hits, all singles. Schuman finished the game with four hits, including a double. Schuman also recorded a pinch hit single in game one, to finish the day 5-for-7. Altogether, the offense was also able to work eight walks, adding to the traffic on the base paths.
Franklin starting pitcher Jacob McMain worked six innings, allowed nine hits and four earned runs to pick up his third win of 2017, tied for the HCAC lead. Junior Aaron Leming fired three innings of scoreless relief. Leming allowed three hits and struck out three.
With the win, the Grizzlies improve to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in HCAC play. The team is back in action this coming Tuesday, when rival Hanover College visits John P. McDowell Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4 PM.