HCAC-OAC clash next for Black and Gold

HCAC-OAC clash next for Black and Gold

Manchester University's 2018 schedule rolls along Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18.

Game details: Saturday's single nine-inning game and Sunday's doubleheader are scheduled at Heidelberg University's Peaceful Valley. First pitch is 3 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday … Live stats are availabe both days via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.

Spartan Shorts: MU parlayed a 13-hit attack with more strong starting pitching March 11 to close out the broom celebration versus the Tigers at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis. A four-run fourth inning rally proved vital, allowing the Black and Gold a 6-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish. Senior Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.) followed suit with his Class of 2018 teammates on the mound. After Stephen Pinarski (Goshen, Ind.) and Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) gained pitching wins March 10, Kopplin went the distance, striking out seven and giving up just the three earned runs on nine hits. The program's second complete-game outing in the past four contests helped the staff ERA continue to tumble to a season-low 5.64, as the Black and Gold have allowed only eight earned runs in the last 34 innings. The Spartans' offense had multiple heroes in the series finale. Sophomore first baseman Nick Rush (Terre Haute, Ind.) finished four-for-four with a pair of doubles and two RBI; senior third baseman Hunter Lane (Nappanee, Ind.) and senior left fielder Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) added multiple-hit outings with two each; and junior shortstop Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) ended with a pair of RBI. Saturday's 5-3 and 9-4 decisions saw Knepper clout a pair of home runs in game one, while Eck went six innings in game two, allowing only eight hits and three earned runs over six innings to go to 2-0 on the year … A quintet of individuals finds themselves among the HCAC's early-season statistical top five categories. Eck's two pitching victories are tied for fourth-highest; Knepper, freshman Joe Henschel (Huntertown, Ind.) and Riley's two home runs apiece are tied for third; and Phelps' two saves are tied for third, too. Rush is in similar territory in batting average (No. 5 - .484) and just off the pace in RBI (No. 7 – 12), while Kopplin isn't far behind the first five in strikeouts (T-7th – 14) … Espeset's crew resumes its non-conference schedule Tuesday, March 20, taking a southwestern trek to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., for a doubleheader against the Little Giants of the NCAC. First pitch is 2 p.m. at Goodrich Ballpark on WC's campus. They continue a nine-game road trip Saturday, March 24, with a set of non-league-counting games against HCAC rival Anderson University. Game time is 12 p.m. at AU's Don Brandon Field.