The 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference slate begins Saturday, March 31.
Game details: First pitch at Hanover College's K.T. Young Ballpark in Hanover, Ind., is 11 a.m. … Fans, friends, and alumni can check out live stats during the doubleheader via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: Coach Rick Espeset's crew, picked second in the coaches' preseason poll, take a 10-8 record into the league lid-lifter. They're fresh off a non-conference split against rival Anderson University March 23 … Going into the weekend, MU is ranked among the loop's top 10 in overall statistics across many areas. Sophomore first baseman Nick Rush (Terre Haute, Ind.) is tied for ninth in RBI (14) and sits sixth in batting average (.429); senior outfielder Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) is tied for second in home runs (three); senior third baseman Hunter Lane (Nappanee, Ind.) is tied for fourth in doubles (seven); sophomore outfielder Quinton Rumsey's (Auburn, Ind.) two triples are tied for second-most; junior outfielder Tyler LaFollette's (Warsaw, Ind.) 17 runs scored rank in a tie for eighth; LaFollette, Lane, and Rush are each in the first 10 in hits (LaFollette – 25 – T-6th/Lane and Rush – 24 – T-10); the pitching quartet of seniors Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Stephen Pinarski (Goshen, Ind.) and Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.) and junior Jordan Hilyard (Decatur, Ind.) is tied for ninth in wins (two); Kopplin's 32 strikeouts top the conference; and senior Garrett Phelps (Covington, Ind.) and his two saves are tied for third while junior John Magers (Noblesville, Ind.) and his one save is tied for seventh … Kopplin and Hilyard are also listed on the NCAA Division III report. They're tied for 14th in complete games with two apiece … The Black and Gold resume their conference schedule Tuesday and Wednesday, April 3 and 4, with contests versus the Ravens. Tuesday's 4 p.m. start is set for Don Brandon Field on AU's campus, while Wednesday's 6 p.m. meeting will be held at Victory Field in Indianapolis, Ind., home of the Indianapolis Indians.