Thunder complete season sweep of Grace

Omaha, NE - The Manhattan Christian College Thunder baseball team took a small road trip north to Omaha, NE over the weekend to face off with the Grace University Royals for a second 4-game series of the season. The two teams met in Junction City (KS) as the Thunder hosted the Royals back in late February. Manhattan swept the series winning 7-5, 5-1, 7-6, and 17-15 over Grace, and as they headed into the second series of the season, the Thunder had their sights set on a season sweep of the Royals. 

Game one saw freshman starting pitcher Gerardo Questell throw a complete game that included an impressive low of 89 total pitches where he gave just three runs on five hits throughout the seven inning bout. Senior Ben Rankin went 1-2 at the plate, scoring two runs while freshman Joshua Sanabria went 2-4 and drove in two runs of his own. 

Despite just seven hits throughout the game the Thunder were able to get on base taking advantage of 4 walks and effecient baserunning and timely hits. The Thunder took the opening game of the series by a final score of 6-3 over the Royals. 

Game two displayed the Thunder's ability to stay in the game and bring in runs when it mattered most at the end of the game, as they scored 7 of their 12 runs in the final inning of the game. The Royals were able to keep things interesting throughout the first five innings as they evened the score in the fourth at 3-3, but Javaughn Davis was unable to corral Manhattan at the plate as he gave up six runs in just 0.2 innings pitched. 

The Thunder took full advantage of errors late in the game by the Royals, scoring on a passed ball, a bases loaded walk, as well as a two-run single by freshman Joshua Sanabria. Sanabria and fellow freshman Seth Throckmorton combined to go 4-8 at the plate, while batting in three runs combined. Manhattan would compelte the Friday sweep winning the second game of the series in convincing fashion, 12-3. 

Game three saw five lead changes throughout the seven inning contest, all coming after the third inning. Up unitl the fourth inning the game was knotted at 0 until Anthony Austin was able to get on base thanks to a line-drive shot to left field, eventually being driven in on a single to deep left field by Josh Mortensen. But despite three more runs being posted in the fifth by the Royals, the Thunder strung together five runs in the sixth when freshman Seth Throckmorton got on base thanks to a walk, and with three more walks and a wild pitch inside that made contact with freshman Matthew Zecha, Throckmorton made his way home for the first run of the inning. 

From there, the Thunder strung together four more runs to complete the 5-run sixth inning that didn't see a single hit, instead Manhattan had to rely on their ability to wait out at-bats and force the Royals pitching staff into strikeouts which were few and far between. Thanks to the big sixth inning, Manhattan coasted on to a narrow victory in the third game of the series, this time 6-4. 

The fourth and final game saw the Thunder get out to a hot start with senior Ben Rankin leading off in the first and getting on base with a walk. Freshman Jan Elias would double to left-center and advance Rankin to third, where freshman Emmanuel Otero singled to left driving home the first of 5 first inning runs for the Thunder. The second inning was much of the same for Manhattan as they racked up 3 more runs to push their lead to 8-2 as they headed into the third inning. 

A scoreless third inning for both squads led into the fourth where Manhattan kept their bats hot and scored another 4 runs pushing the lead to 8. Senior Ben Rankin controlled the mound for the Thunder throughout, finishing his complete game throwing just 98 pitches, and striking out 7 Tiger batters. 

Manhattan went on to tack on 3 more runs in the sixth to stretch their lead even further, and coast through the seventh inning winning the final game of the series, and earning the series sweep, 15-4.

The Thunder will be back in action April 29 & 30 in Manhattan (KS) as they face off for a second series with the Dallas Christian College Crusaders. The two teams faced off in Dallas (TX) back in mid-March, where the Thunder took a 2-1 series win over the Crusaders. 

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