Former Warsaw Community High School standout Joey Hickerson swings for a hit during Grace College's doubleheader against Marian University Tuesday at Miller Field. Photo by Josh Neuhart
Former Warsaw Community High School standout Joey Hickerson swings for a hit during Grace College's doubleheader against Marian University Tuesday at Miller Field. Photo by Josh Neuhart
WINONA LAKE – Strong pitching and timely hitting led Grace College’s baseball team to a sweep of Crossroads League foe Marian at Miller Field on Tuesday.
Former Warsaw Tigers standout Joey Hickerson’s sixth-inning triple led the Lancers to a 4-3 victory in the first game, and Tim Weber’s pitching limited the Knights to four hits in Grace’s 10-1 win in the second game.
In the opener, Grace got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. Hickerson walked to lead off the inning and stole second. He went to third off a single from Jacob Bloom, also a former Warsaw standout. While Marian was trying to tag Bloom out in a rundown on the base paths, Hickerson snuck home for the game’s first tally.
Tyler Weber doubled Grace’s lead in the third with a sacrifice fly ball, bringing in Bloom.
The Knights (11-14; 9-9 Crossroads League) fought their way back and took the lead in the sixth with a two-out rally. After a leadoff single, Sammy Wilkerson retired the next two batters. But Marian showed resolve with a single and a three-run homer on their next two at-bats to jump in front, 3-2.
Not to be outdone, the Lancers (7-16; 6-9 CL) tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Grace had its first two hitters retired before making its game-changing charge with two outs. Jared Lemler, another Warsaw product, and Matt Morgart hit back-to-back singles, and Hickerson cleared the bases with a standup triple to deep centerfield.
Dellos Schabel finished the game from the mound for Grace, picking up the save.
Bloom was 2-for-3 in the game, and Hickerson drove in two runs and stole two bases. Wilkerson allowed seven hits and three runs in six strong innings from the mound.
In the second game, Grace erupted for eight runs in the second inning to seize control of the game. Five of the first six Lancer batters reached base safely, including four singles and a hit batsman. Wyatt Clemens, Paul Blankley, Hickerson and Aaron Christenberry, also a former Warsaw player, drove in runs during the second, and Bloom capped off the inning with a three-run home run over the right field fence.
Marian scored in the fourth with three singles, but Grace responded in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice ground ball from Bloom that scored Hickerson.
Tim Weber went the distance on the mound, allowing just four hits with two strikeouts. He did not walk a batter and had a one-hitter going through three innings.
Bloom drove in four runs and scored twice himself to pace Grace. Clemens, Lemler and Blankley each finished 2 for 3.
The Lancers continue the series with Marian in Indianapolis on Thursday. Grace will return to Miller Field on Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader against St. Francis.