Manchester University begins its 2017 softball schedule at home Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Game details: First pitch between the Spartans and Huntington University is 3:30 p.m. at Spartan Field … Live stats are accessible via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: MU received 41 poll points on the HCAC's coaches ranking released in late January. The Spartans, standing fifth, trailed a neck-and-neck race between preseason favorite Transylvania University and perennial power Anderson University at the front of the class among the first four. The Pioneers edged the Ravens 75-73 and had one more first-place vote. Hanover College wound up third (57 points and two first-place votes) followed closely by Franklin College (54 points) to round out the top quartet … The Black and Gold had a pair of sophomores, a junior and a senior represent it on the Players to Watch section. Senior outfielder Emilee Liston (Cicero, Ind.), junior second baseman Laurren Ladwig (Crown Point, Ind.) and sophomores Mandy Boggs (Frankfort, Ind.) and Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.), who are returning starters at shortstop and third base, respectively, were noted … Dzurick's crew returns five of its top six offensive producers from a 20-16 2016 finish. Liston wound up her junior campaign hitting a robust .381 that included three doubles and 12 RBI; the underclasswoman duo of Skeens, who is a returning all-league honoree, and sophomore Sydney Thompson (Logansport, Ind.) were next in line at .330 and .323, respectively, and served as part of a power source that hammered 21 round trippers for the Spartans last spring, combining for nine of them; Ladwig, a two-time all-loop selection, hit eight home runs and drove in 31 RBI; and Boggs, the HCAC's Freshman of the Year awardee a year ago, rounds out the top returning offensive numbers after sporting a .304 average a year ago. In the circle, junior Mallorie Jennings (Bourbon, Ind.) is the lone returning hurler from last season, as she finished 2-3 with a 3.61 earned run average in 33 innings pitched. Manchester University does have another returner in its bullpen cadre, as junior Madisyn Walters (Hanna, Ind.) is back after a year away. She appeared in seven games with two starts as a freshman.
Homestand Continues: A Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association match-up is set Saturday, March 4, as Hope College pays a visit to North Manchester. First pitch is 1 p.m.