The 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and regular seasons wind down for Manchester University beginning Wednesday, April 25.
Game details: First pitch between the Spartans (15-17 overall, 7-5 HCAC) and Bluffton University (8-21, 3-9 HCAC) is 3:30 p.m. at Spartan Field in North Manchester, Ind. … Live audio, stats, and video are accessible via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics.
Spartan Shorts: Coach Josh Dzurick got a birthday gift from the Black and Gold he won't soon forget April 21. Freshman pitcher Haley Perez (Portage, Ind.) and senior second baseman Laurren Ladwig (Crown Point, Ind.) supplied a significant share of the celebration in the nightcap. As an ecstatic crowd of nearly 100 home fans looked on, Perez twirled and spun the gem of a lifetime in the circle, not allowing a single Hanover College hit or issuing a free pass while facing only two batters over the minimum. Ladwig made the program's first no-hitter since 2013 stand up. After junior first baseman Sydney Thompson (Logansport, Ind.) walked with one out in the first, she blasted her 16th round-tripper of the year for the eventual 2-0 final count. Ladwig's big fly was one for the record books, setting a new HCAC single-season record. Ladwig and Perez were tabbed league Hitter and Pitcher of the Week April 23 for their efforts … The victory occurred on the heels of the visiting Panthers rolling up a 9-0 first game victory. HC broke up a nip-and-tuck one-run battle with an eight-tally attack over the final four frames. Thompson and freshman catcher Alexis Mokos (St. John, Ind.) each turned in a pair of two-hit games to add to Ladwig's game two heroics. Senior outfielder Mallorie Jennings (Bourbon, Ind.) added in two safeties in the opener … Ladwig enters the week ranked first in home runs and second in RBI (35) in the conference, while her .423 batting average is sixth-highest. Her power numbers remain among the best in NCAA Division III, as she's first in total homers and home runs (.5) per game; fifth in total bases (89); and seventh in slugging percentage (.989). Looking deeper into the HCAC numbers, Thompson and junior infielder Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.) join Ladwig in the round-tripper top 10 (Thompson – four – No. 6/Skeens – three – No. 10); Jennings' seven stolen bases are tied for seventh; Perez' 2.48 earned run average stands seventh, and her six wins are ninth-best; and senior hurler Madisyn Walter (Hanna, Ind.) is tied with her first-year teammate for fifth in saves (one) and ranks 10th in strikeouts (26) … The 2018 conference slate concludes Saturday, April 28, with a trip to Transylvania University for a 1 p.m. doubleheader.