In a winner-take-all matchup for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament title, the fifth-seeded Anderson University baseball team fell to top-seeded Franklin College 12-3 on Sunday at Kokomo Municipal Stadium in Kokomo.
COACH MATT BAIR'S COMMENTS
This season was an absolute blast, all the way down to [Sunday's] HCAC Championship game. I'm forever grateful for this awesome group of seniors and their contributions to our baseball family. We love you and you will always have a special place in the heart of Anderson Baseball.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Luke Willman belted an RBI double in the bottom of the second inning to put Franklin (33-11) on the board. Colby Reed singled in a run during the same inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Anderson (27-19) cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the third when Charlie Jones reached on error while also driving in Grahm Reedy on a sacrifice bunt.
Anthony Smith contributed an RBI single in the bottom of the third for Franklin.
Rene Casas Jr. smacked a solo home run to right field in the top of the fourth, trimming the deficit to 3-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, eventual tournament MVP Tysen Lipscomb smashed a grand slam to take a 7-2 lead.
Franklin plated four more runs in the fifth. Lipscomb singled in a run and scored later in the inning on a wild pitch. Dyllan Redmon cracked a two-run single to put the Grizzlies ahead 11-2.
Trey Dorton singled in a run for the Ravens in the top of the eighth.
Sean Sullivan contributed a run-scoring single in the bottom of the eighth.
Casas Jr. smashed a solo homer to lead the Ravens offensively. Dorton finished the game with a single and two walks. Reedy provided a double while Luke Renard and Justin Reed rounded out Anderson's five hits with singles.
Lipscomb finished the game with 2-for-4 with a grand slam, five RBI and three runs to lead the Grizzlies. A.J. Sanders went 3-for-5 while Willman added an RBI double. Colby Reed went 1-for-1 with three walks and three runs. Redmon produced a two-run single. Smith and Sullivan rounded out Franklin's 10 hits with RBI singles. Matt Earley drew three walks while Jonathan LaGuire-Cruz drew two walks.
Matthew Johnson (6-1) recorded the win. He struck out three batters, issued four walks and allowed two runs on three hits in six and two-third innings. Gavin White threw a perfect ninth inning. Will Butts punched out a batter, yielded zero walks and gave up one run on two hits in one and one-third innings.
Landen Southern (6-5) was hit with the loss. He struck out three batters, conceded three walks and scattered three runs on four hits in two and one-third innings. Aidan Shoemaker struck out a batter, issued a walk and allowed one run on two hits in three innings. Cole Whitlock punched out a batter, yielded four walks and gave up three runs on one hit in one and two-thirds innings. Walker Stull fanned a batter, yielded two walks and allowed one run on one hit in one and one-third inning. Evan Doan issued two walks and surrendered four runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
DEFENSIVE TOURNAMENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Ravens limited themselves to four errors in six games for an average of 0.67 errors per game, leading the conference tournament teams by a wide margin. Anderson also turned seven double plays for an average of 1.17 double plays per game, ranking second among tournament teams for the weekend. The Ravens also turned a tournament high among all teams with four double plays in Saturday's win against Franklin.
Dorton and Stull were both selected to the HCAC All-Tournament Team. Stull garnered all-tournament honors after throwing five perfect innings of relief for a win during Saturday's game against Transylvania University (24-19). Dorton closed the tournament 9-for-20 with a double, six RBI, six walks and two runs. He finished the weekend with a .450 batting average and a .577 on-base percentage.