RECAP | Sparks Carries No-Hit Bid Into the Sixth; Bixler Brings Home Four in Win Over Thomas More

Photo courtesy of Zoie Richey
Photo courtesy of Zoie Richey

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – Playing their first true road contest of the year on Tuesday (Mar. 19) afternoon, the Franklin College baseball team got back in the win column with an impressive 9-1 win over the Thomas More Saints.

Franklin (5-3) got three hits and four RBI from Ryan Bixler, who has driven in 10 runs over Franklin's last three games. Sam Claycamp drove home a pair of runs while Matt Olovich and Brandt Pawley scored twice each. On the mound, Krae Sparks and Nate Stonebraker combined to dominate the Saints' (5-8) lineup, running Franklin's winning streak over Thomas More to four.

Both teams sent the minimum to the plate through two innings before the Grizzlies would get on the board in their half of the third. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Bixler drew a four-pitch walk that brought Olovich home. One batter later, Claycamp plated Pawley with a sacrifice fly to put Franklin up by a pair.

Sparks worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the third inning to keep the lead and two innings later, Bixler knocked home his second run of the day with a two-out single, Franklin's first hit of the day to make it a 3-0 game. Two innings later, Bixler put the game away with a two-run single, and Franklin would go on to add an insurance run in the eighth and three tallies in the ninth.

For the second straight start, Sparks (1-1) was brilliant on the mound for the Grizzlies. The Greenwood, Ind.-native kept the Saints hitless for 5 2/3 innings and would exit after 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball that saw him strike out seven. Stonebraker allowed one hit and struck out five over the final 2 2/3 innings, picking up his fourth save of the year.

Franklin will be back at home on Wednesday (Mar. 20) afternoon for two games against MacMurray College. First pitch from John P. McDowell Field is set for 1:00 p.m.