RICHMOND, IND. – Clutch … Dominant … Precise … Just what the doctor ordered.
You could have queued the accolade dictionary for any of those descriptions for what senior pitcher Stephen Pinarski (Goshen, Ind.) gave Manchester University Sunday, May 6.
With the Spartans in urgent need of a big Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory at Earlham College’s Randal R. Sadler Field to ensure a spot in the 2018 postseason tournament, Pinarski’s 10-strikeout performance filled the bill. The outing equaled what fellow senior hurler Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.) did when he k’ed the same number of Heidelberg University Student Princes in late March.
Going up against one of the league’s best in the form of Walter Talcott, the Black and Gold (19-20, 9-8 HCAC) needed every bit of what Pinarski threw at the home-standing Quakers. MU’s offense managed to compile three runs with single tallies in the fourth, seventh and eighth in support, as senior outfielder Alec Trzeciak (Charlotte, Mich.) doubled and drove in a run, and junior outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) and sophomore designated hitter Joe Gallatin (Muncie, Ind.) added safeties and an RBI each in route to a 3-0 decision.
Pinarski’s final line included surrendering only five singles and a pair of free passes to go with his double-digit punchouts. Senior Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) put a bow on the win with his third save, putting down a potential side home rally in the final frame.
The nightcap was called in the bottom of the fifth due to lightning and inclement weather in the area. With the afternoon concluded, MU found itself among the field for the league’s postseason tourney once again, this time as a number four seed. The Black and Gold’s season resumes Thursday, May 10, at Franklin College’s John P. McDowell Field, as they face off against fifth-seeded Bluffton University. First pitch is 9:30 a.m.