Bluffton visit begins final week of regular season

Bluffton visit begins final week of regular season

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.