INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – The combination of junior outfielder Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) and freshman second baseman Nick Rush (Terre Haute, Ind.) each laced two-run singles in a five-run 11th inning rally, leading Manchester University to its first victory of the 2017 campaign Sunday, March 12.
Knepper greeted DePauw University relief pitcher Jonathan Azar with a safety to right center that plated senior outfielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.) and senior infielder Kevin Clarke (Cincinnati, Ohio) with the first runs of the series' second match-up between the Spartans and Tigers. Rush, after sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) singled in a third score, completed the rally with a base hit up the middle of DePauw's defense that chased home Knepper and LaFollette. The offensive outburst was needed, as the home side came back with three in their half of the 11th on a home run and put the tying run at the plate before senior hurler Corey Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) shut down the comeback to conclude a 5-3 Manchester University victory.
The final contest of the weekend set was just as nip-and-tuck at Bishop Chatard High School's Dave Alexander Field. A Black and Gold pitching quintet featuring junior Mitch McDonald (Waterloo, Ind.); freshman Craig Overpeck (Rockville, Ind.); freshman Luke Helton (North Manchester, Ind.); sophomore Jordan Hillyard (Decatur, Ind.); and freshman Alex Dicken (Peru, Ind.) combined to limit their North Coast Athletic Conference foes to one earned run on five hits over eight frames while striking out six. A pair of unearned tallies helped lead DePauw to the series' decision with a 3-1 rubber game final.
Manchester University's offense in the third match-up was led by Schultz and senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.). They ended with two hits each, as Schultz' two safeties were both doubles. Rush came back from his key role in the second meeting to drive in the Spartans' lone run.
Coach Rick Espeset's squad is schedule to open its home slate at Gratz Field Wednesday, March 15. First pitch against Otterbein University out of the Ohio Athletic Conference is 4:15 p.m.