Transylvania finishes doubleheader split at Anderson with 12-inning thriller

Lopiccolo throwing

Indianapolis, Ind. – Wade LoPiccolo scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning of the second game of Monday's conference doubleheader as the Transylvania baseball team earned a 9-8 win in a split with the Anderson University Ravens at Bishop Chatard High School.

The Pioneers finished a grueling back-and-forth Monday doubleheader on a high note after Anderson captured the first game of the day, also a one-run result by the final score of 4-3.

Transylvania moved to 6-6 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play while Anderson moved to 7-5. The Pioneers stand at 13-19 overall on the season.

Trey Medford led the way in game one for the Pioneers with a 3-for-4 game at the plate with an RBI, charting a single, a double, and a triple; his RBI single in the top of the fourth inning punctuated a three-run inning that put the Pioneers ahead of Anderson, 3-0.

The most powerful offensive inning of the day in the fourth began with a one-out walk by Devyn Wilson-Cowan followed by a single from Hudson Chastain. Michael Blair put the first run upon the scoreboard with an RBI double to left center to score Wilson-Cowan before Lopiccolo came up with an infield single that scored Chastain.

Anderson answered back with two runs against Transy starter Jake Schmidt in the bottom half of the inning to form a 3-2 score. The Ravens continued their momentum in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring the tying run on an RBI groundout for a 3-3 deadlock.

Schmidt signed off after four innings of work, giving way to Jared Leuthart, who worked the final four innings in relief. The Ravens made ends meet in the bottom of the sixth inning as its first two batters reached base. Following one of six strikeouts in the game by Leuthart, the Ravens found the go-ahead run on an RBI double to take a 4-3 lead.

The 4-3 lead would hold the rest of the afternoon, but not without a concerted comeback effort by the Pioneers. Transylvania moved Chastain to third base in the top of the eighth inning with two away, but Lopiccolo grounded out to end the inning. Another prime opportunity arrived in the final inning as Medford led off with a triple. Despite the looming threat, Anderson retired the final three Pioneer batters to secure game one.

Leuthart was saddled with the loss to fall to 0-2 on the season, finishing with a line of one earned run allowed, three hits, four walks, while matching his career-high set earlier this season with six strikeouts.

The second game of the afternoon became Transylvania's chance to return the favor.

Both teams amplified their offense in game two as Transylvania compiled 15 hits to Anderson's nine, topping their combined game one total by six hits.

Each team put a run on the board in the first two innings as the Pioneers took a 3-2 lead against the Ravens; an RBI bunt single by Henry Molloy in the second inning scored Medford to give the Pioneers a 3-1 advantage.

The Ravens then countered with three runs over the next three innings to go in front, 4-3.

Transylvania regained momentum in the top of the fifth as the Pioneers put three runners aboard; Lopiccolo came through for the Pioneers with an RBI single to the left side to score Chastain, tying up the Ravens at 4-all.

The offensive intensity continued as the Ravens plated another run in the bottom of the frame to take a 5-4 lead, but stranded three runners to leave a potential big inning in waiting.

Another wild inning developed in the sixth as the Pioneers scored two more runs to take the latest lead at 6-5. Willbur hit a single into the right-field alley to score Andrew Winningham and Isaac Taylor scored Molloy on an RBI groundout to represent the pair of sixth-inning runs.  

Anderson followed suit with two more runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run home run as the pendulum swung back their way with a 7-6 lead.

The game changed hands again in the top of the ninth inning as Chastain led off with a base hit up the middle. With one away, Lopiccolo stepped up to the plate and delivered a home run shot to deep centerfield, inching the Pioneers closer to victory with a newfound 8-7 lead.

But the day was far from over as the Ravens provided another dose of theatre in the bottom of the ninth. Luke Wilson stepped onto the mound for Transylvania in a closing role and the Ravens put two runners on, one via a base hit and another on a throwing error by Wilson. The Ravens later found the tying run on a wild pitch, but Wilson held firm after the game once again was tied by retiring the final two batters of the inning on a strikeout and a groundout, sending the game into extra innings.

As the game grew longer, pitching ruled the day as the Pioneer side was retired in the top of the 10th inning, followed by a quick 1-2-3 inning by Wilson in the bottom of the 10th that included back-to-back strikeouts. The offensive issues arose in the 11th inning as neither team was able to score.

The 12th inning would be the final chapter of the doubleheader as Lopiccolo was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. Medford then grounded out to move Lopiccolo to second and T.J. Keck did the same to advance the sophomore to third base. With Chris Naskale up to bat, Ravens closer Andrew Rolfsen tossed a wild pitch, allowing Lopiccolo to dash across home plate, giving the Pioneers a 9-8 lead.

In the bottom of the 12th, Wilson shut down the final attack of the Ravens as he retired the side for a sudden end to a marathon afternoon.

Four Pioneers earned two hits or more in the final game of the day; Lopiccolo led the way with a 3-for-5 showing with three RBI while Chastain went 3-for-5 from the plate with a walk. Keck went 2-for-5 with a walk while Willbur had two hits and an RBI.

Wilson picked up his second win of the season to move to 2-2.

The Pioneers return to action at home tomorrow as they host another HCAC opponent in the Hanover College Panthers. First pitch of the Tuesday doubleheader is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. from Marquard Field in Lexington.

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