Knepp Stays Hot while TU Earns a Spot in the Championship

UPLAND, Ind. – The No. 24 Taylor baseball team (39-16) continued its run through the winner’s bracket of the 2022 Crossroads League Tournament on Tuesday afternoon, defeating Huntington (26-22) by a final score of 11-to-eight. Sophomore utility-man, Camden Knepp, stayed hot at the dish for the Trojans, burning the Foresters with a pair of hits and four runs-batted-in.

Knepp is now 12-for-20 at the plate with 15 RBI in his last five games, including 10 RBI on seven base knocks in 11 at-bats through the first three games of the league tournament.

The one Trojan to out-hit Knepp in TU’s win over Huntington, though, was the catcher, Ben Kalbaugh, who went three-for-five at the plate and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.

It was not all fun and games for the Trojans to start the day, however, as Huntington worked an early four-to-one lead thanks to two two-run Forester home runs in the first and second innings.

The nation’s leader in RBI, TJ Bass, was apparently not comfortable with that circumstance, as evidenced by a monster three-run blast to left-center to tie the game at four in the top half of the third inning.

With that blast, Bass boosted his RBI-total to 89 on the season, just one shy of the 90-mark and now having surpassed the previous TU RBI single-season program-record by 21 runs.

Huntington responded with a run in the fourth to take back the lead, before Taylor countered with a run of its own to re-establish an even score. And from that point on the Trojans kept the momentum.

The Taylor bats would post the game’s next six runs, creating an 11-to-five lead heading into the bottom half of the ninth. Knepp played a pivotal part in that offensive surge, but the TU pitching staff put forth a remarkable performance of its own.

Sophomore, Alec Holcomb, toed the rubber for his first start of the season, completing three-and-two-thirds innings for the Trojans while navigating the adversity of the Forester long ball. After Holcomb’s gritty outing, senior, Luke Carlson, came on to record a significant out with two-out and two-on to close the fourth.

Last night’s hero at the plate, Michael Pinarski (3-3), then took over on the mound and threw three-and-a-third scoreless innings of one-hit ball, putting himself in position for the win before the Forester long ball came back into effect in the ninth inning.

At this point it was an 11-to-eight game, and Taylor called to pen one more time, this time heralding Jack Ross to the rubber where he closed the game with back-to-back outs to send the Trojans to the 2022 CLT championship game.

No. 24 Taylor (39-16) will play in that championship game on Wednesday afternoon, May 11th, at 3:00 pm, with the opponent yet to be determined. If Taylor wins tomorrow’s 3:00 pm game, the Trojans will secure the 2022 Crossroads League Tournament crown. Otherwise, the Trojans will compete in a winner-take-all game at 6:30 pm later Wednesday evening.