Trojans defeat rival Huntingdon
MOUNT UNION — The Mount Union baseball team was slow out of the gates but came storming back to take the lead in the fifth and received a solid pitching performance from Tyler Renninger to edge the rival Bearcats, 5-3, in a wet and dreary non-conference baseball game on Monday afternoon.
Renninger worked quickly and effectively, rallying back from a three-run first inning to allow just two hits the rest of the way (both bunt singles). Renninger threw a 76-pitch complete game and surrendered just five hits and three walks, yielding three runs.
Huntingdon (2-11) began the game with three straight singles and Tyson Cook’s single to left brought in Josh Bryson to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. A pair of groundouts to shortstop by Brady Handy and Ryan Marshall extended the lead to 3-0.
Mount Union (7-2) countered with an RBI single to left field by Ian Brodbeck to score Bryce Danish to cut into Huntingdon’s lead. With runners on second and third, Renninger laced a ball that looked to be headed into left field before a great snag at third base by Ryan Hack ended the chance for a big inning.
“Tyler got out there and threw a lot of pitches up to begin with and they took some really good swings in that first inning and hit the ball hard,” Mount Union coach Tim Hicks said. “We gave up three runs and got behind, but I thought our guys did a good job getting runners on base and getting a run in the first. Tyler had a nice swing, and their guy made a nice play to get out of the inning.”
Renninger maintained his poise on the mound and worked quickly and effectively, facing the minimum in third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The Trojans turned a double play in the fifth and in the seventh to frustrate the Huntingdon offense.
“Tyler did a great job, he settled in and started hitting his spots a lot better,” Hicks said. “He kept the ball down. He had a little trouble in the seventh inning. We missed a couple balls, but he got out of it. We had a great double play up the middle, I can’t say enough about that. You’ve got to win some close ones and it’s great to see that we did that.”
Meanwhile Mount Union fought to cut into the lead, scoring a run in the second on an RBI single by Danish. The Trojans added a sacrifice fly in the fourth from Danish to tie the game.
“We just kept clawing away,” Hicks said. “We had baserunners in the second, baserunners in the third. In the fourth inning I believe we tied it up. I knew we needed a run to tie it up not knowing what was going to happen with the weather and whether we’d play five innings, six innings or seven.”
The Trojans took the lead for good in the fifth inning as Vince Lear lined a ball hard at the Huntingdon shortstop and the ball took a wicked hop and hit him above the shoulders before finding its way into center field to score Klayton Willoughby.
Mount Union added another insurance run in the sixth on a hard-hit ball off the bat of Cam Donaldson deep down the right field line. Donaldson broke for third and slid into the bag ahead of the throw before it sailed high over the bag and to the fence to allow Donaldson to score on the play.
The Trojans found different ways to manufacture runs throughout the day as sacrifice bunts, a sacrifice fly, a catcher’s interference play and multiple errors by the Bearcats proved costly for Huntingdon. Mount Union was aggressive on the base paths as well as the Trojans had five steals on the afternoon.
“I thought that we were patient and we got some walks,” Hicks said. “We stole some bases. Cainen Atherton had a great sacrifice bunt (in the fourth) to move runners up and Bryce Danish came up with a sacrifice fly. Cam Donaldson’s triple was a big run there for us. With the ball wet, you have the tendency to throw the ball high and that gave us the extra run there.”
Hicks was pleased with the result against rival Huntingdon, as the Bearcats have played better than their record of late. The victory gives Mount Union some momentum heading into a difficult stretch of nine games in 11 days to try and improve its seeding in the District 6 Class 2A power rankings.
Mount Union currently sits in third place in the latest District 6 Class 2A rankings and will return to action today when it hosts Williamsburg. The Trojans are a perfect 6-0 at home this season.
“Overall, it was just a really good win over a 3A team,” Hicks said. “It will help out. It was a tough game with the rain, but we needed to play this with nine games in 11 games. Our pitching is already going to be stressed so we will take it one day at a time, see who is available and try to win some games.”
Mount Union 5, Huntingdon 3
MU 110 111 X — 5 9 1
HUN 300 000 0 — 3 5 3
WP: Tyler Renninger. LP: Josh Bryson. SO: Renninger 1 (MU); Brady Handy 2, Bryson 1 (HUN). BB: Renninger 3 (MU); Handy 1, Bryson 1 (HUN). 3B: Cameron Donaldson (MU). 2B: Cainen Atherton, Vince Lear (MU). MH: Bryce Danish 2-4, Cam Donaldson 2-3, Ian Brodbeck 2-3 (MU). RBI: Bryce Danish 2, Brodbeck 1, Lear 1 (MU); Tyson Cook 1, Brady Handy 1, Ryan Marshall 1 (HUN).