A weekend series at Heidelberg University's Patriots Park at Peaceful Valley Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19, raises the curtain on four straight games against the Ohio Athletic Conference for Manchester University.
Game details: First pitch times are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday for a doubleheader and 12 p.m. Sunday for a single nine-inning game … Live statistics and video for all three games is available via links at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … A spring break trek to Otterbein University's Fishbaugh Field Wednesday, March 22, resumes the stretch against the OAC.
Spartan Shorts: Despite a 1-6 start to the 2017 season, Coach Rick Espeset's crew is gaining attention on the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's statistics report. Senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) program-leading .458 batting average is third-highest in the league, while junior outfielder Eric Knepper (Bremen, Ind.) is among a large list in home run top 10 territory, as his total (one) is tied for ninth with 14 other loop players. Looking deeper into the team's statistics, Szarenski takes an eight-game on-base, dating back to the final 2016 contest, and five-game hitting skein to Heidelberg. Senior outfielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.) has had similar success in constructing a five-game hit streak … The Spartans enter the weekend coming off a close-knit series against North Coast Athletic Conference member DePauw University March 11-12. Manchester University claimed a 5-3, 11-inning win over the Tigers in the middle contest, while DePauw scratched past the Black and Gold 3-2 in the opener and 3-1 in the finale. Knepper, freshman infielder Nick Rush (Terre Haute, Ind.) and sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) each clouted run-scoring singles in the 11th frame of the middle match-up, as Knepper and Rush plated two scores apiece on their safeties. The offensive outbreak helped aid a strong pitching performance, as junior starter Brandon Eck (Fort Wayne, Ind.) shut out the home side on three hits with three strikeouts over six innings; relief pitcher Garrett Phelps (Covington, Ind.) did the same for two innings with one K; and senior Corey Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) danced around a three-run home run to seal the win over the final three innings. Espeset's staff had a strong two days overall at Bishop Chatard HS' Dave Alexander Field, as a quintet consisting of junior Mitch McDonald (Waterloo, Ind.); freshmen Craig Overpeck (Rockville, Ind.), Luke Helton (North Manchester, Ind.) and Alex Dicken (Peru, Ind.); and sophomore Jordan Hillyard (Decatur, Ind.) struck out six DePauw hitters and surrendered only one earned run in the finale, and junior Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.) teamed up with Ferguson to hold the Tigers to three runs while striking out three over nine innings in the opener.
2017 HCAC Opener: Mt. St. Joseph pays a visit to Gratz Field for three contests Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25.