League rivals open season series

League rivals open season series

It's the first of three games this spring between Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference competitors Manchester University and Anderson University Tuesday, April 11.

Game details: First pitch at AU's Don Brandon Field is 4:15 p.m. … Live statistics can be accessed at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … A 2016 season sweep gave Coach Rick Espeset's program an 18-15 advantage in recent series history.

Spartan Shorts: Manchester University (9-14 overall, 6-5 HCAC), winners of six of its last nine in league play, has moved into a three-way tie for third with Earlham College and Mt. St. Joseph University, just two games behind Franklin College for first … The recent roll continued with a series win over the preseason favorite Quakers April 7 and 8. The Spartans saw many heroes that brought the home crowd to its feet often during Saturday's doubleheader. Senior outfielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.) headlined the list with three home runs, two in the second game, to go with eight RBI and a monstrous 1.273 slugging percentage. Sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) wasn't far behind with six hits, including a triple and home run, and sophomore shortstop Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) tallied five hits and drove in two runs along with LaFollette and senior designated hitter Lucas Gramman (Lawrenceburg, Ind.). Friday's 4-3 decision was spotlighted by an eighth-inning home run from freshman catcher Joe Gallatin (Muncie, Ind.) as well as some strong pitching. Junior starting pitcher Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) battled returning all-HCAC hurler Howie Smith tooth and nail over the first seven innings, surrendering only three hits and three earned runs during the span. Senior Cory Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.), as has been the norm, stepped out of the bullpen, facing six batters in the eighth and ninth with two strikeouts to earn his fourth win of the year … Three Black and Gold players find themselves among the league's statistical top 10. Gallatin, due to a 14-game hitting and on-base streak, has risen into the territory in batting average (.377 – No. 10), home runs (five – T-3rd) and RBI (21 – No. 9); Schultz' three weekend bombs jumped him into the conference lead (eight), while he's tied for fifth in doubles (nine); and Ferguson's wins and saves are tied for second (four) and tied for fourth (two), respectively.

Weekend Home Set: Hanover College comes to North Manchester for a single nine-inning game Friday, April 14, at 4:15 p.m. and a pair of contests Saturday, April 15, that start at 12 p.m. at Gratz Field.

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