A battle between the top two teams on the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings comes to Gratz Field Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13.
The league leading Spartans, sporting a 20-3-1 overall and 10-1 league record, welcome the Panthers (14-10, 7-4 HCAC) for a single nine-inning game at 4:15 p.m. Friday and two nine-inning games Saturday starting at 12 p.m.
Live audio and statistics (Friday's game) and live audio (Saturday's games) are available via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: The Spartans enter the weekend with a three-game lead on the second-place Panthers. MU has won seven in a row overall and at home. … MU and Hanover have split the last six games in the series. The Panthers won two of three a year ago at home, while the Spartans did the same in 2011. … The Black and Gold moved two spots up on D3Baseball.com's weekly poll to No. 14 and climbed into the American Baseball Coaches Association's Division III top 15 at No. 15 earlier this week. ... In celebration of those events, the Spartans rolled past Defiance 19-2 to open their four-game week April 9. The victory took MU to 20 wins for the fifth consecutive season. … Going into the week, Manchester University was among the top 10 of six categories on the NCAA Division III statistics report for games played through April 7. Along team lines, the win-loss percentage was fifth-best, while the 50 hit by pitches the Spartans had taken through 23 games were sixth-highest. Individually, senior pitcher Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.) was seventh-lowest in earned run average (0.52) and eighth in saves (six). Junior third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.) was also in the top 10 of two categories, ranking fourth in RBIs per game (1.65) and seventh in total RBIs (38). … The team's numbers continue to be impressive on the conference's statistics report, too. Manchester University has at least one player listed in the top five of six of the seven categories. Murphy has climbed to third in batting average (.404) due to a .468 mark he's compiled over a 10-game hitting streak and is first in ERA and tied for first in saves; Nieman's also a leader, in RBIs (40) and is tied for first with four home runs, while Marchant is fourth (27) in RBIs; Kimm, sophomore outfielder Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.) and senior outfielder Cody Schell (Granger, Ind.) are among the top five in stolen bases (Schell – 13; Kimm – 12; Norris – 10); and senior pitchers Justin Scott (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Kyle Konarski (Elkhart, Ind.) are among the top five in ERA (Scott – 3rd – 1.73/Konarski – 4th – 2.25), and Konarski is tied for the wins' lead (five). … As part of the athletic department's recognition of NCAA D3 Week, Manchester University's Sports Management Club is highlighting Saturday's doubleheader and the softball twinbill against Transylvania with "Spartan Slam". All fans are encouraged to wear gray in support of the Spartans as part of a "Gray Out". Special first pitch ceremonies at both fields will be held at 11:45 a.m., a bubble gum blowing contest is planned at baseball during the seventh-inning stretch of game one and at softball during the fifth-inning stretch of the opener and elephant ears will be available for purchase during the afternoon at both sites.
Anderson Series Resumes: The Ravens pay a visit to Gratz Field Tuesday, April 16. The single nine-inning game concludes a season-high eight-game home stand.