By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Friday’s game at Don Brandon Field ended when Anderson University catcher Cole Heberling hit a rocket up the middle that Transylvania reliever Elliot Desilets somehow got a glove on and turned into a double play.
It was that kind of a day for the Ravens, who dropped a 7-4 decision to open a three-game series against their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival.
AU (9-11, 5-3 HCAC) failed to get a runner on base through the first four innings and fell behind 6-0 but still managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the fifth and sixth innings.
“Obviously we would have liked to have picked one up on our home field to start the series,” Ravens coach David Pressley said. “We’re putting a little extra pressure on our pitchers by not hitting early in the game, and it’s causing a little tension.”
Anderson will play a doubleheader against Transylvania (10-10, 4-4) today and attempt to bring a halt to a three-game losing streak.
The slide began Monday with a 7-5 loss against Division I IPFW at Victory Field and included 13 consecutive scoreless innings until the Ravens finally broke through in the fifth.
Zach Hufferd, who finished 2-for-4, got the frame started with a single, and Jordan Ball and Jeremy Shelmadine followed in kind. Shelmadine’s single plated Hufferd with AU’s first run, and Austin Young added an infield single with one out to make it 6-2. Jacob Craft drew a bases-loaded walk to make it a three-run game, but Ryan McPike struck out one batter later to end the threat.
Anderson added another run in the sixth when Hufferd laced another leadoff single and scored on a single by Young, who finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. But the Ravens got just one more hit and three more baserunners the rest of the way, and the Pioneers added an insurance run in the eighth for the final margin.
“We actually clustered our hits together a little more than we have been in the early season,” Pressley said. “But we needed a few more here and there, make a play here and there, and maybe we would have won the ballgame.”
Transylvania first scored on a two-run, two-out single by Nick Edwards in the third inning. But the Pioneers really put the pressure on in the fifth.
Pete Travisano hit a leadoff double to the base of the fence in center field and scored on a single by Hunter Jones. It looked like AU starter Dan Schmitz would avoid further damage when he retired the next two batters, but he hit Edwards with a pitch to keep the inning alive.
Sam Liggett followed with an RBI single, and Zach Riney plated two more runs with a single before the Ravens stopped the bleeding.
Schmitz scattered six hits and struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings, but he also walked five batters, hit two more and allowed six runs.
“When you run your starting pitcher out there and you don’t give him any support, it feels like you have to be perfect,” Pressley said. “It really does change the game.”
The Pioneers’ final run came in the eighth without the benefit of a hit. Travisano walked to lead off the inning and scored on a delayed steal.
Anderson got a two-out single from McPike in the seventh and one-out walks in the eighth and ninth but never threatened to score.
Pressley said the key to the three-run fifth was that the Ravens got two hits to the opposite field and two more up the middle. Hitters were staying within themselves and not trying to do too much.
“We took some disciplined swings,” Pressley said, “and I think that’s what’s gonna get us going.”