KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Hanover baseball sophomore Justin Pope (Fishers, Ind.) struck out seven batters over 7.2 innings of work and classmate Sam Crick (Seymour, Ind.) recorded his first collegiate save, as the Panther pitching, paired with a five-run eighth inning by the offense, defeated Northern Vermont-Lyndon Friday morning, 6-2.
The Panther win improves the team to 3-2 on the young season, as they will have one more game during their Winter Break trip in Florida. The Hornets fall to 1-4 with the loss, with two of their setbacks coming to HC this week.
The middle and bottom half of the lineup provided the offensive spark needed for Hanover, as hitters six through nine in the order produced 11 of the team's 13 hits, which ties an early season game high. Senior Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) and freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) were each 3-for-5 at the plate, while junior designated hitter, Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) added a 4-of-5 performance. Sophomore Zeke Porta (Louisville, Ky.) added one hit in the nine-hole, while also reaching via a walk on three occasions.
The low-scoring affair saw just one run through seven innings of play, which went to the Blue and Red. Stover doubled to lead off the top of the fourth and then scored on a base hit from Walkenhorst. Hanover also had the bases full in the second and sixth frames but were unable to scratch across any insurance runs.
Pope was efficient in his second start of the season, facing the minimum 21 batters through seven innings. The sophomore allowed just one hit and one walk through seven, with both base runners getting thrown out on steal attempts.
Hanover had runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the eighth and a sacrifice bunt from junior Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) gave HC a 2-0 lead. Senior Josh Meszaros (Loveland, Ohio) drove in two with a double, Stover had an RBI on a single and classmate Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) drove in the fifth run of the frame with a sac fly.
With the Panthers in front 6-0, Pope recorded a pair of strike outs in the eighth before allowing two runs and ending his day. Crick entered with two outs in the eighth and retired four of the five batters he faced, only allowing a one-out single in the ninth.
Hanover will look to close its Winter Break trip on a high note when the team faces Cabrini (Pa.) at 9:15 a.m., Saturday, March 2.
Contact: Tyler Jester