Baseball drops two in series finale at Wabash

Ty Stover

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – The Hanover College Baseball team dropped both sets of its series-ending doubleheader at Wabash (Ind.) Sunday afternoon, 6-5 and 6-2.

The Panthers (6-5) defeated the Little Giants 17-8 on Saturday before falling in both games Sunday. Wabash (5-7) was the regional runner-up in the 2018 NCAA Division III National Baseball tournament, and were one game from qualifying for the eight-team College World Series.

Junior Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) capped a stellar weekend by going 4-for-8 with three doubles Sunday. The junior, who went 2-of-4 in both games, finished the three-game set 10-for-15 at the plate, a .667 average. Coop tied the single game hit record at Hanover with six on Saturday.

Senior Ty Stover (Galvetson, Ind.) added two hits in each contest. Stover also crossed home plate once in each game.

GAME ONE RECAP (L, 6-5)

The opener saw six players record multiple hits for HC, combining for 13 of the team's 15 hits in the contest. Junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) headlined the group with a 3-for-4 effort.

Both sides scored one run in the second inning, with HC getting its score off a base hit from freshman Charlie Burton (Columbus, Ind.). Burton went 2-for-4 in the game, driving in two runs.

Burton's second RBI came in the sixth and senior Chase Sizemore (Fishers, Ind.) added a sac fly to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Junior Zach Chapman (Loveland, Ohio) held the Little Giants to two runs over six innings on the mound, conceding six hits and striking out four.

Wabash responded with runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 4-3 advantage heading into the final frame.

A two-out rally in the top of the ninth resulted in a 5-4 lead for the Panthers. Sizemore drove in his second run with a base hit to left and then scored on a single to right from classmate Josh Meszaros (Loveland, Ohio).

The Little Giants though, saw four batters come to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, all of which reached safely, including the last whose double to right field scored two for the walk off win.

GAME TWO RECAP (L, 6-2)

The trio of Coop, Stover and senior Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) combined for six of Hanover's seven hits. The Panthers were retired in order in four frames during the night cap.

Coop gave HC its first hit in the game with a two-out double in the third, but an infield popup in the next at-bat left him stranded. Wabash led 3-0 through three complete.

Another two-out double in the fourth came from freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.). The Panthers scored two runs on the hit, as Fitch and Stover both crossed home plate, making the HC deficit 3-2.

Wabash added two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh to secure the 6-2 advantage. The Little Giants grew their lead thanks in large part to their pitching, which retired the side in order in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

The Blue and Red though, had the tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth with two outs. Unfortunately, a strikeout ended the threat, giving Wabash a 6-2 decision.

The duo of junior Sam Crick (Seymour, Ind.) and sophomore Justin Pope (Fishers, Ind.) pitched the final three innings in relief, allowing one unearned run on no hits. Sophomore Grant Larimore (LaGrange, Ky.) started the contest on the mound, striking out six batters over five innings of work.

UP NEXT: Hanover will return to the friendly confines of K.T. Young Ballpark for a two-game series against Sewanee (Tenn.) Wednesday and Thursday, March 20 and 21. Both games are scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu