Spartans, AU continue HCAC clashes

Spartans, AU continue HCAC clashes

It's the second of three meetings between Manchester University and Anderson University Tuesday, April 18, at Gratz Field.

Game details: First pitch is 4:15 p.m. … Live audio, stats and video are available via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … The long-time Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference combatants opened the set at AU's Don Brandon Field April 11 with the Ravens breaking away late for a 19-5 victory which closed recent series history to 18-16 in favor of the Black and Gold … The regular season match-ups conclude in North Manchester Tuesday, May 2.

Spartan Shorts: Coach Rick Espeset's squad has climbed into a tie for second with Earlham College and Franklin, trailing league leader Rose-Hulman by only two games, due to winning eight of its last 13 … The Spartans (12-15 overall, 9-6 HCAC) resumed the run with a weekend sweep of Hanover College April 14 and 15. A potent combination of sparkling pitching and strong offense proved a successful equation. They survived a furious Hanover College comeback in game one to win 4-3; opened up a 7-2 cushion in the second match-up Saturday before the visiting Panthers played comeback again, forging a 7-7 tie that sophomore shortstop Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) broke up for good drilling a double off the top of the right field wall to plate the eventual winning score in the bottom of the eighth of an 8-7 final; and tallying six runs in their final three at-bats of the series curtain closer in route to a 14-11 win … Home fans attending the weekend set saw many heroes. On the offensive side, senior center fielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.) and Riley shared the hit lead with six each with Schultz clouting four two-baggers and Riley ending with two; sophomore right fielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) drove in six runs due, in large part, to three doubles; sophomore second baseman Christian Smith (Fortville, Ind.) tripled as one of his three safeties; and freshman third baseman Brandin Frazier (Wabash, Ind.) hit his first collegiate home run among three hits. The pitching highlights for the Spartans shone just as brightly. Manchester University's staff forged a 2.67 earned run average, as junior starters Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.) surrendered only a combined two earned runs and struck out 14 over 15 innings. Senior bullpen standout Cory Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) registered a win in the middle meeting and a save in the opener by not allowing an earned run over three innings of work … Schultz' lengthy on-base string continued being added on to over the weekend. By doing so successfully in all three games, he ran it to 25. Kopplin's 10 strikeouts in the first game of the April 15 doubleheader were a personal single-game high. The double-digit punchout mark was also the most in a contest for the program since Dylan Padgett chalked up the same number in 2014 … Manchester University hits the road next for a weekend loop series. They're scheduled for a single game Friday, April 21, and a pair of contests Saturday, April 22, at Transylvania University.

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