NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Seven days off and a lengthy rain delay on Sunday (Apr. 15) weren't enough to slow down the offense of the FC baseball team, as the Grizzlies erupted for a pair of emphatic wins over conference rival Manchester.
The Grizzlies (22-2, 7-1 HCAC) socked nine home runs on Sunday afternoon on their way to a pair of wins over the Spartans (14-15, 5-7 HCAC). Nick Wright had three home runs on the day while Sam Claycamp and Brandt Pawley launched grand slams. Jarrod Smith, Jackson Freed and Alex Mis also left the yard, helping Franklin made it 11 wins in their last 12 games for the second time this year.
Game One: Franklin 18 – Manchester 7
Frank Podkul opened the scoring in the top of the second, taking the first pitch he saw over the right center field wall for his HCAC-leading eighth home run of the year and a 1-0 Franklin lead. One inning later, the Grizzlies added to their lead with a two-run single from Ryan Bixler and an RBI ground out from Wright.
Manchester would get on the board in their half of the third, but the dam was about to break and a flood of Grizzly runs followed.
With two on and nobody out in the top of the fourth, Smith doubled the Franklin lead with a three-run blast, his second of the season that made it 7-1. Five batters later, the bases were loaded for Wright and the Grizzly cleanup hitter delivered with a single that brought two more runs home. Later in the inning, Mis drew a bases loaded walk that stretched the lead to 10-1.
In the fifth, the Grizzlies padded their lead with two long home runs. Claycamp started the onslaught with a grand slam, his third home run of the year. Three batters later, Freed ran into a fastball and sent it over the left field wall for a three-blast. Wright capped the Franklin scoring in the sixth, leading off the inning with a deep home run to center field.
Claycamp and Wright finished with four RBI each in game one with Wright's three hits leading all Franklin players. Christian Sullivan (5-0) tossed six strong innings for the Grizzlies, allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and three punch outs.
Game Two: Franklin 20 – Manchester 2 (6 inn.)
Once again, the Grizzlies used the long ball to take the lead. With one down and the bags full, Pawley smacked a pitch over the right field fence for a grand slam and his first career round-tripper. Two batters later, the lead was stretched to five after an RBI single from Bixler.
One inning later, the Grizzlies went off for eight runs on eight hits to put the game out of reach. Mis led off the inning with his first home run of the year. It was one of two RBI hits in the inning for Mis, as he doubled home a run later in the inning. Ryan Erlandson, Claycamp and Pawley drove in runs with singles later in the inning and Podkul plated a pair with a double into the left field corner.
Wright belted his second home run of the day with a two-run shot in the fourth. Wright would plate three more with a three-run blast in the top of the sixth, giving him six on the season. Claycamp added an RBI single and Jordan Crouse brought in a run with a sac fly to cap the scoring.
Aaron Leming (5-0) worked five innings of five-hit ball, giving up one earned run, walking four and striking out three. Ben Sprinkle worked a perfect sixth, striking out a pair to put the finishing touches on the win.
Franklin returns home on Tuesday (Apr. 17), opening up a six-game homestand with a pair of contests against Rose-Hulman. First pitch from John P. McDowell Field is set for 1:00 p.m.