FRANKLIN — It wasn’t the result Anderson University was looking for as the Ravens dropped both games of an afternoon baseball doubleheader against Franklin. The Ravens entered the game third in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, one game behind second-place Franklin. Both teams entered the doubleheader on hot streaks, as host Franklin had won its previous six while the Ravens had won their last three.
In the first game, the Ravens got on the board first as Franklin pitcher Jordan Clark had early control issues. After giving up a first-pitch single, Clark hit Joe Moran and walked Chuck Kidd. Two batters later, Tommy Parker hit a deep fly ball to left field that brought home Moran and Kidd.
Things settled down for the two teams until the fourth inning. Adam Paschal singled to right-center on an 0-2 pitch, then advanced to third on an Austin Cain single to center field. Paschal scored on a Clark wild pitch to increase the lead to 3-1.
Franklin didn’t threaten to score again until the sixth inning. Parker allowed two runners on with a single and a walk to start the inning. Sam Claycamp advanced with a steal with one out. However, Parker struck out Alex Mis and induced a groundball to Jarrod Smith to escape the inning with no damage.
The Ravens added to the lead in the seventh. TJ Price hit a double on an 0-2 count and scored four pitches later on an RBI double from Nick Jones. However, Franklin responded in a big way in the bottom half of the inning.
Ravens’ starting pitcher Kenny Parker gave up a single, then walked two straight batters before being replaced by Jordan May. Claycamp worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a no-doubt grand slam over the center-field fence.
Despite two rough innings late, Ravens head coach Mathew Bair doesn’t regret keeping Parker in.
“He pitched well for us all game,” said Bair. “He got roughed up there for a bit, but he had a low pitch count, so I wanted to give him the chance to work it out.”
May’s struggles continued in the eighth by walking Jacob Heuchan, who reached second on a fielders’ choice by Jarrod Smith. Logan Demkovich singled to right-center to bring pinch-runner Garrett Ramsey in for the final run.
“May has pitched well all season, and I had no issue putting him in when I did," Bair said. "That’s just how it goes in baseball.”
Clark (3-0) picked up the win for Franklin while May (1-1) was credited with the loss. Nate Stonebraker picked up his sixth save for Franklin.
Both teams jumped on the board early in the second game. The Ravens took a 1-0 lead when Jones scored from second on a double from Kidd.
The lead didn’t last long. Franklin leadoff hitter Quenton Wellington needed just two pitches to go yard.
However, the biggest damage was done in the third inning. With Drew Naumovich on second base, Claycamp, the conference batting leader, took an 0-2 pitch over the left-field fence to give the Grizzlies a 3-1 lead. Two walks later, Demkovich doubled to left field to bring in Mis and Smith. In the next inning, Namovich scored on a single to left field.
Things didn’t get better for the Ravens as the game went on.
“Just like in the first game, we couldn’t overcome the big inning,” said Bair. “I don’t think we played as bad as the score looks. Franklin is a good squad, and you can’t let them string together hits. They did that early, and we just couldn’t get anything going.”
After Price scored in the fifth, the Ravens gave up a run in the sixth in a bizarre fashion. Franklin’s Ryan Bixler was halfway to second base before pitcher Chandler Wise made a pickoff attempt. His throw missed second baseman Price and rolled into the outfield. There seemed to be confusion on where to make the throw, enabling Bixler to reach home after a collision with catcher Paschal.
There was some excitement for the Ravens in the eighth inning.
Bennie Day, who had entered the game for Thomas Parker, reached base on a walk. M.J. Furnish, who entered the game for Paschal, went deep on a 2-2 pitch to make the score 9-4.
Franklin scored one last run in the bottom of the eighth and completed the sweep with a 10-4 win. The Ravens drop to 19-13 (9-7) and remain third in the conference. They will travel to Fort Wayne on Wednesday to face Ohio Northern before ending the season with doubleheaders against Rose-Hulman and Thomas More.