RECAP | Grizzlies Hold on to Beat Anderson in Opening Game of HCAC Tournament

Photo courtesy of Mike Lanke
Photo courtesy of Mike Lanke

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Franklin College baseball team opened play in the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Baseball Tournament on Thursday (May 9) night, taking on Anderson in a meeting between the second and third seeds in the five-team tournament.

The Grizzlies (26-13) jumped out to an early lead and held a three-run lead on the Ravens (20-15) in the ninth inning when rain intervened and pushed the conclusion of the game to Friday (May 10) morning. When play resumed, Nate Stonebraker was able to record the final three outs to seal a 6-4 win, sending Franklin into the winner's bracket.

Franklin wasted no time getting on the board, plating the game's opening run in the bottom of the first when Sam Claycamp's bloop single landed softly in left, scoring Quenton Wellington from third. One inning later, the Grizzlies rallied to score four times with two outs, starting with a run-scoring single from Drew Naumovich that made it a 2-0 game.

Later in the inning, Wellington crossed home for the second time on a passed ball and Ryan Bixler would bring in a pair with a single to shallow center that dropped in-between three Raven fielders and stretched the lead to 5-0.

But the Ravens would climb back into the game with a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth while the Grizzly offense stalled. Claycamp knocked in a critical run in the bottom of the sixth, bringing Naumovich home with a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 6-3.

That score held until the ninth when the skies opened up and turned the playing surface into mush. After a 90-minute delay, umpires and officials determined the game would be finished the following morning.

Stonebraker took over from the night before, retiring two of the first three batters before an RBI single cut the lead to two. With runners on the corners, the senior relief ace came through and induced a game-ending groundout.

Jordan Clark (4-0) got the start for the Grizzlies and allowed just two earned runs on four hits with six walks and seven strikeouts over six-plus innings of work. Stonebraker notched his seventh save of the year and 11th of his career, walking two and striking out four over three innings of work.

Franklin moves on to face the winner of top-seeded Rose-Hulman and fourth-seeded Defiance in the winner's bracket. That contest will start at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Friday night.