The road to the 2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball tournament title goes through North Manchester and Gratz Field May 8-10.
Tournament information: Top-seeded Manchester University, the 2014 HCAC champions, second-seeded Anderson University, third-seeded Rose-Hulman and fourth-seeded Franklin College make up the tournament field … Games are slated for 12 and 3:30 p.m. Thursday; 9:30 a.m., 12:30 and 4 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. and a potential 3:30 p.m. if necessary contest on Saturday … Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens with children under 11 and faculty, staff and HCAC students with a college ID admitted free … Live audio, statistics and video for all games can be accessed at http://www.muspartans.com/sports/bsb/2012-13/files/2014_HCAC_Baseball_Championships … This weekend's champion earns the league's automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division III national tournament.
Spartan Shorts: The Spartans (24-15) open the event by facing fourth-seeded Franklin (24-15) Thursday at 12 p.m. MU claimed the regular season series from the Grizzlies winning two of three on the road … A win would move them into a winner's bracket clash at 9:30 a.m. Friday, while a loss would send them to an elimination contest at 12:30 p.m. the same day … This is the third time in the last four years that the Black and Gold have served as tourney hosts. They won it a year ago and were second in 2011 in their previous hosting duties. MU is the two-time defending tournament champions and has reached the final round in each of the last four seasons … Manchester University sports a .314 team batting average and 4.76 staff earned run average through 39 games. Those numbers are first (batting average) and fourth (ERA) in the conference. Individually, senor designated hitter Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) leads a list of seven players hitting above .300 with a robust .373 average. Junior shortstop Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) and junior center fielder Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.) are next in line with each hitting .366, while junior second baseman Logan Hug (Indianapolis, Ind.) is close behind (.346). On the mound, seniors Temujin Sery (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Dylan Padgett (Kirklin, Ind.) are one-two in wins (six and five, respectively), while Padgett's 3.06 ERA, Sery's 57 strikeouts lead the starters. Senior relief pitcher Josh Copp (Sharpsville, Ind.) is also tops with a 2.82 ERA and five saves in 19 appearances … Maringer's average has jumped into the team lead due to four multiple-hit efforts in his nine appearances with his numbers leaping 40 points (.333 - .373), while Hug's 12-game hit streak has seen seven multiple-hit contests which has helped rise his average 108 points (.238 - .346) … Five Spartans go into the weekend ranking among the conference's top five statistically. Kimm is tied for the lead in RBIs (44) and is second in home runs (nine), while Norris is fifth in stolen bases (19) and Sery and Copp are tied for third in wins and saves, respectively … MU is also within NCAA Division III's top 25 in eight team and three individual statistical categories. Kimm is among the top 20 in home runs (13th) and home runs per game (19th), while sophomore third baseman Sean Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) is 25th in doubles (17). The team rankings are highlighted by being No. 7 in hit by pitches (74), No. 11 in home runs and home runs per game (28/.72) and No. 15 in sacrifice flies (26).