Long ball powers Panthers at Bluffton

Chase Sizemore

BLUFFTON, Ohio – Senior Chase Sizemore (Fishers, Ind.) hit a grand slam and freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) followed with a solo home run to engineer a 5-2 victory for the Panthers in Game One of a road doubleheader at Bluffton Monday.

The Panthers (11-15, 3-7 HCAC) hit three home runs on the day, with sophomore Grant Larimore (LaGrange, Ky.) getting in on the action in the night cap. All seven of Hanover's runs Monday came via the long ball.

Hanover and Bluffton (17-16, 6-6 HCAC) combined for just three hits over the first three innings of play Monday afternoon. Junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) led off the top of the fourth though by getting hit by a pitch. Singles by seniors Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) and Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) followed to load the bases. Sizemore then stepped up to the plate and gave HC a 4-0 lead after going yard to left field.

Littlefield led off the top of the sixth with a solo shot, giving HC a 5-0 advantage. The Beavers scored twice in the eighth, but Larimore entered to pitch two scoreless innings to lock down his first collegiate save.

Senior David Herrmann (Fishers, Ind.) got the nod to start on the mound, as he did not allow a run over seven innings, striking out a career-high 14 batters. Herrmann, who now has five career double-digit strikeout games, scattered five hits and three walks to keep Bluffton scoreless during his outing.

After picking up two hits in the opener, Stover added two more in the night cap to lead HC with a 4-for-8 effort over the doubleheader. Stover and junior Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) combined for four of HC's six hits in Game Two.

Larimore gave the Blue and Red another early lead, hitting a two-run home run in the third inning. Freshman Charlie Burton (Columbus, Ind.) scored on Larimore's blast, as he led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch.

Bluffton though, picked up eight of its 13 hits from the third through fifth innings, a three-frame stretch that saw the Beavers score eight runs. The home team added three runs in the seventh to secure the 11-2 victory and doubleheader split.

A busy week for Hanover is scheduled to continue with a road doubleheader at Transylvania on Tuesday, April 23. The Panthers and Pioneers are set for a 1 p.m. start.

Contact: Tyler Jester