TERRE HAUTE, IND. - The Defiance College baseball team made their emphatic return to the HCAC Tournament on Thursday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets scored a season-high 16 runs in the opening round victory over Transylvania before mother nature pushed the nightcap to Friday.
Transy struck first in the tournament opening game, scoring one run in each of the first two innings. The familiar sound of Yellow Jacket bats, and many of them, making connection soon followed in the bottom of the second.
Michael Reese (Constantine, Mich. / Constantine) and Nate Kaffenbarger (DeGraff, Ohio / Indian Lake) each singled to begin the powerful inning. Neary followed with a bunt that forced the Pioneer defense into a sticky situation, allowing the pair of sophomores to come home for the first two runs.
Grant Vickery (Defiance) quickly followed up with a single into right, scoring Neary for a 3-0 lead. As the momentum began picking up, Garrett Sierra (Defiance) singled, followed by a Ben Bucklew (Archbold) sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position.
Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich. / Allen Park) hit a double deep into left field, scoring two more Yellow Jacket runs. With Tanner Stippich (Lima / Allen East) and Konwinski on base, Reese knocked his fifth home run of the season out of the park to give DC an 8-2 lead.
The next two innings saw no scoring from the Purple and Gold, yet Vickery had other plans in the bottom of the 5th. With Reese and Kaffenbarger on base via a single and a double respectively, the senior hit a shot into left field that drifted well over the fence. Vickery's second homer of the season propelled DC to an 11-3 lead.
One more run in the sixth, followed by four runs in the seventh, pushed Defiance to the season-high total.
From the mound, Daniel Tomalak recorded a win for his 1.2 innings pitched. Tomalak allowed five hits and three runs while striking out one in the short spell of pitching. The sophomore now holds a 5-1 record on the season.
From the batter's box Reese led DC by going 4-4 with four RBI. The sophomore also drew one walk in the affair. Vickery matched Reese's efforts with four RBI of his own, while Konwisnki drove in three.
With game two of the HCAC Tournament in the final inning of action, the rain quickly swept over Art Nehf Field on the campus of Rose-Hulman, rendering the rest of the night unplayable. The Yellow Jackets' scheduled contest with number one seed Rose-Hulman was moved to Friday, May 10, at 12:00 pm.