Baseball Narrowly Falls 7-6 at Manchester


StopkaIWUN. MANCHESTER, IND. -- Manchester College kept its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament hopes alive with a 7-6 victory over Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Sunday.

Anderson University moved one-half game ahead of Rose-Hulman in the HCAC baseball standings due to its 2-0 victory over Mount St. Joseph on Sunday. 

Anderson stands 17-5 in HCAC play with three games remaining next week at Franklin.  Rose-Hulman has a 16-5 mark in league games and hosts Earlham in a three-game series next week.

The top four teams in the final standings will compete in the May 10-12 tournament that will be hosted by the league champion.

With the score tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Corey Marchant opened the frame with a walk and advanced to third on a single by Jordan Nieman.  Trevor Kimm slapped a two out single to move the Spartans to 12-10 and one game behind fourth-place Transylvania in league play.

Bryce Murphy picked up the win for Manchester with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to move to 6-2 on the season.

Offensively, senior Will Burchett (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) led Rose-Hulman with a single, double, two runs scored and two RBIs.  Sophomore Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) also had a single and a double with two RBIs and one run scored.

Other Fightin' Engineers with multiple hits included junior Donald Stopka (Grayslake, Ill./Carmel Catholic) with two singles and one RBI; and senior Jamie Weinle (Harrison, Ohio/Olney C.C.) with a single, double and one run scored.

Rose-Hulman relied on a four-run fifth inning to take a 5-1 lead early in the contest.  Weinle and junior Matthew Turk (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) started the rally with back-to-back doubles.  Sophomore Parker Fulkerson (Terre Haute/Holy Cross Univ.) added an RBI single, and Benitez brought home a run with a fielder's choice.  Stopka capped the rally with another RBI single.

Manchester answered with five runs in the next half inning to take a 6-5 lead after five innings and set the stage for a tight battle for the rest of the game.

Rose-Hulman stands 25-11 on the season and 16-5 in HCAC play, while Manchester improved to 20-17 and 12-10 in league games. 

The Fightin' Engineers host Earlham in a single game on Thursday at 6 p.m. and a doubleheader on Friday at 6 p.m. to close the regular season schedule.  Rose-Hulman has clinched one of four bids to the HCAC Tournament.