LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Franklin College baseball closed out the month of March with their first two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) games of the year against the Transylvania Pioneers.
The Grizzlies (10-8, 0-2) finished the afternoon with a total of 19 hits, with junior Nick Wright recording a team-high four base knocks. But the Pioneers (11-11, 4-0 HCAC) were able to use big innings in both contests to come away with wins by scores of 7-4 and 10-7, respectively.
Game One: Transylvania 7 – Franklin 4
Franklin jumped out to an early lead thanks to a two-out rally in the third inning. Ryan Bixler drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before coming in to score on Sam Claycamp's RBI double that just snuck inside the left field line. One batter later, Claycamp came home on Wright's RBI single.
The big inning in game one came in the bottom of the fourth when the Pioneers brought five runners across the plate with two outs in the inning. Franklin would counter in their half of the fifth, adding a pair of runs on a Drew Naumovich single.
But the Grizzlies were unable to add the game-tying run in the same frame, leaving the bases loaded and the score at 5-4. Transylvania added runs in the sixth and eighth innings, stretching the lead out to three. Franklin would bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but the Pioneers wiggled out of trouble to close out the game.
Aaron Leming (2-1) went seven innings on the hill for Franklin, allowing seven hits and five earned runs with three walks and four strikeouts.
Game Two: Transylvania 10 – Franklin 7
For the second straight game, the Grizzlies jumped out to the early lead, this time courtesy of a Claycamp sacrifice fly in the top of the first. But for the second straight game, the Pioneers answered Franklin's first strike with a big inning, plating five runs in the bottom of the second.
Franklin got one run back in the top of the third on Claycamp's two-out RBI single and one inning later, the Grizzlies evened up the game after a Brandt Pawley RBI single, a Quenton Wellington RBI double and Claycamp drawing a bases-loaded walk that made it a 5-5 game.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh, when the Pioneers brought four runs across the dish to take the lead for good. Franklin cut the lead in half in the top of the eighth with RBI hits from Bixler and Wright, but the Grizzlies would leave the bags full for the third time on the day, their final quality scoring chance of the day.
Krae Sparks (1-2) got the start for the Grizzlies, lasting six innings with six walks and six strikeouts.
Franklin wraps up a lengthy road trip on Tuesday (Apr. 2) afternoon, when they head to Hanover, Ind. for two games against the Hanover Panthers. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.