Spartans set for conference tourney

Spartans set for conference tourney

A battle between the fourth and fifth seeds at the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament begins the weekend for Manchester University at Transylvania University's John and Donna Hall Field in Lexington, Ky., Friday, May 4.

Game details: First pitch is 10 a.m. between the fifth-seeded Spartans and fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets … Live audio, statistics, and video are accessible via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … The winner advances to a top bracket game at 2 p.m. against the conference champion and tourney host Pioneers, while the loser goes into an elimination round contest at 4 p.m. against the loser of the second first-round clash between Franklin College and Mt. St. Joseph University which follows MU's match-up with Defiance.

Spartan Shorts: Coach Josh Dzurick sports a 17-19 overall record. They finished 9-7 in league play … Senior second baseman Laurren Ladwig (Crown Point, Ind.) goes into the tourney leading the conference in home runs (19) and RBI (44) and sitting third in batting average (.459). Her resume also ranks well on the national level, as she leads NCAA Division III in overall round trippers, is second in home runs per game (.53) and stands fourth in slugging percentage (1.045) and total bases (116). She holds a conference and school records for single-season home runs, has the school-best in career bombs and is just five RBI shy of becoming the program's leader in the category … Other individuals on the Spartans' roster also have a high-rent residence on the HCAC numbers. Junior third baseman Kate Skeens (Gas City, Ind.) is 10th in batting average and tied for fifth in home runs (five); junior catcher Sydney Thompson (Logansport, Ind.) is tied for 10th in big flies (four); senior outfielder Mallorie Jennings (Bourbon, Ind.) is tied for ninth in stolen bases (10); freshman pitcher Haley Perez (Portage, Ind.) is eighth in earned run average (2.88), 10th in wins (seven), and she and senior Madisyn Walter (Hanna, Ind.) are tied for sixth in saves (one). Walter is tied for 10th in strikeouts (30) … Defiance swept the regular-season twin bill in a pair of nip-and-tuck contests played at MU's Spartan Field. DC won game one 6-3 and game two 4-3 in eight innings, using late-frame offensive outbursts in each case … Recent tournament history saw the Black and Gold drop two games in the 2015 event at Anderson University and rally into the ultimate championship clash in 2013 when they hosted the tournament. The Spartans have reached the final series four times, winning it in 2001.