Thursday May 10
FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology led nationally ranked Franklin College after six innings, before the Grizzlies rallied to pick up a 13-9 victory in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament on Friday afternoon in central Indiana.
Franklin, ranked No. 14 by d3baseball.com this week, improved to 37-3 on the season with the win. The Grizzlies will compete in the HCAC Tournament Championship Round on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Rose-Hulman returns to the diamond at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday against Anderson University (24-19), with the winner needing to beat Franklin twice in the title round.
Rose-Hulman relied on a strong pitching performance from Clayton Mayfield to lead Franklin 4-2 after six innings. Mayfield allowed one earned run and six hits with six strikeouts as the Fightin' Engineers built a lead and put a scare into the regular season HCAC champions.
The Franklin offense heated up in the seventh inning with six runs, but Rose-Hulman battled back with three of its own to move within 8-7. After the Grizzlies scored four times in the eighth, the Fightin' Engineers closed within 12-9 with two more runs of their own in the offensive battle.
Rose-Hulman relied on two key at bats to take its 4-2 lead. Logan Cody drew a bases loaded walk to knot the score at 2-2, before Conner Shipley doubled down the left field line to plate two runs and give the Engineers a 4-2 lead.
The Franklin offense responded with three home runs in the late innings to claim the victory. Frank Podkul lead Franklin with two home runs among three hits, three runs and three RBIs. Ryan Bixler and Brandt Pawley also had three hits each.
Rose-Hulman's offense was led by Luke Calabrese with three singles and one run scored. Davis Robeson had a triple and two RBIs, and David Burnside had a single and a double with one run scored to balance the lineup. Shipley also had a double, single, one run scored and two RBIs.
Rose-Hulman stands 20-22 entering Saturday's games. The winner of the HCAC Tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament next week.