Walkenhorst homers twice in 15-run fifth as Hanover tops Sewanee 21-17

Mark Walkenhorst

HANOVER, Ind. – Junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) homered twice during a 15-run fifth inning Wednesday evening at K.T. Young Ballpark, as the Hanover College baseball team outlasted Sewanee (Tenn.) in a high-scoring affair, 21-17.

The Panthers (7-5) topped 20 runs for the first time since a 22-9 victory at Defiance back on April 2, 2011. Wednesday's performance also came on the eight-year anniversary of the team's last 20-plus run game at home, a 24-7 decision against Miami-Middletown.  The 21 runs fall seven shy of tying the school record mark, 28, set in 1981. The single game program record for combined runs by both teams is 40, set in 2000.

Walkenhorst finished the day 3-3 at the plate with the two home runs and a double, as he drove in six during the fifth frame. The junior's performance raises his season batting average to .552.

Senior Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) went 2-2 with three runs scored. Junior Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.), sophomore Grant Larimore (LaGrange, Ky.) and freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) all added multiple hits and two runs in the starting lineup as well.

Sewanee (13-8), fresh off a 32-11 victory over Eureka (Ill.) last week, scored the first run Wednesday on a two-out single in the top of the first. Hanover answered with four runs in the bottom the frame.

With two outs, three walks and a hit by pitch tied the game at one-all. Littlefield then hit a bases-clearing double to give HC the 4-1 advantage.

A scoreless second inning followed, before the Tigers added a run in the third with their own home run. The Blue and Red still led 4-2 through three complete.

The top of the fifth inning concluded with a fly out to right field, but a collision by two Hanover players caused a lengthy delay and an appearance by the local ambulance. The Panthers were able to rally for their injured teammates with a 15-run frame. The Blue and Red tallied eight hits in the inning, while also taking advantage of four Sewanee errors.

Stover led off the rally with a single and Walkenhorst followed in the next at-bat with his first home run. Freshman Cale Mattingly (Newburgh, Ind.), who entered in relief, drove in a run with a double to left field and Coop added a RBI base hit in the next plate appearance. Mattingly finished 2-2 with the one RBI and two runs scored.

Walkenhorst hit a grand slam on a line shot to right field with two outs in the inning. Coop and freshman Charlie Burton (Columbus, Ind.) added RBI's as well, reaching on errors. Larimore, senior Chase Sizemore (Fishers, Ind.), sophomore Austin Crouse (Fishers, Ind.) and freshman Trevor Greenwald (Louisville, Ky.) all drove in a run with bases-loaded walks to cap the scoring in the fifth. Hanover led 19-2.

The Panthers received their final two runs on a base hit by freshman Zach Stringer (Hebron, Ky.). Stringer's two-out hit was the first of his collegiate career.

Sophomore Eli Copner (Zionsville, Ind.) went seven strong innings to improve to 3-0 on the season. Copner allowed three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits, while striking out four.

The Tigers were able to tally 14 runs in the top of the ninth to close the deficit to four runs. Sophomore Justin Pope (Fishers, Ind.) faced the final two batters and ended the Sewanee comeback attempt with a strikeout.

After playing a three-hour and 33-minute contest Wednesday, the Panthers and Tigers will meet again at 4 p.m., Thursday, March 21.

Contact: Tyler Jester