DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College baseball team dropped a pair of contests to 14th-ranked Franklin (Ind.) College, 14-8 and 18-6, on Senior Day at Craig A. Rutter Field on Sunday.
The opener saw the Grizzlies (35-3, 17-1 HCAC) take an early 2-0 lead after 2.5 innings of play, but a single by sophoomore Ben Bucklew (Archbold) scored sophomore Jude Neary (Toledo/Cardinal Stritch Catholic) to cut the lead to 2-1.
The DC (14-20, offense continued to produce in the fourth, when sophomore Tanner Stippich (Lima/Allen East) hit a home run over the left field fence to give the home team their first lead, 3-2.
Franklin scored two runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead, but Defiance took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. The game was tied when senior Glen Collier (Zionsville, Ind.) hit a double to deep center field that scored Bucklew. Collier stole third and advanced home on a throwing error to put Defiance back in front, 5-4.
The Grizzlies took the lead back with two more runs in the sixth, then poured it on with seven unearned runs with two outs in the seventh inning to take a commanding 13-5 lead, en route to a 14-8 opening game win, eliminating the Yellow Jackets from HCAC Tournament contention.
Sophomore Jon Brown (Haskins/Otsego) started game one for Defiance, pitching five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits while striking out six. Freshman Cohen Nies (Logansport, Ind./Lewis-Cass) allowed six unearned runs in 1.2 innings in relief, while junior Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich.) allowed three more unearned runs. Freshman Michael Reese (Constantine, Mich.) allowed one earned run on two hits with three strikeouts.
The offense continued to thrive for the Purple and Gold, led by Collier and freshmen Nate Kaffenbarger (DeGraff/Indian Lake) and Lucas Thomeier (Wickliffe) with three hits apiece. Collier went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored, while Kaffenbarger was also 3-of-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Stippich added a pair of hits and led DC with three RBI.
In the nightcap, Franklin scored four runs in each of the first two innings to take an early 8-3 lead as the Grizzlies rolled their way to an 18-6 victory.
Junior Michael Gilliland (Napoleon) led the Defiance offense by going 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Collier tallied three more hits to his total in the nighcap with a double and two RBI. Senior Alek Menyhart (Hartland, Mich.) added a pair of hits to wrap up his collegiate career, as well.
Sophomore Will Bohlman (Centerville) started game two, allowing six runs. Senior Cody Nelson (Clayton, Mich./Hudson) threw two scoreless innings after allowing a pair of runs in the second. Defiance used a trio of pitchers to round out the game, as they combined to allow 10 earned runs.
Defiance wrapped up their season with a 14-20 mark and honored five seniors on Sunday, Glen Collier, Alek Menyhart, Cody Nelson, Parker Houk (Montpelier), and Mac Edwards (Kingston, Ont./Jefferson CC), along with student assistant coach Zack Bires.