A stretch of four games in five days starts Tuesday, April 4, as Ohio Athletic Conference member Otterbein University visits Manchester University for a non-conference match-up.
Game details: First pitch at Gratz Field is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. … Live audio, stats and video can be accessed via a link at www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics … Tuesday's game is the second of two contests between the Cardinals and Spartans. Otterbein, who's frequented the D3Baseball.com top 25 poll this season, held off a late rally by the Black and Gold March 22 on their Fishbaugh Field, winning 8-7. The clash concludes a set of five against the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's eastern neighbors, as Coach Rick Espeset's squad is 2-2 against the OAC.
Spartan Shorts: Rising up into a tie for fourth and just a game and a half out of first on the loop standings, Manchester University took two of three on the road at Bluffton University's Memorial Field April 1 and 2. Senior first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) doubled and drove in a run, while junior starting pitcher Taylor Kopplin (Westport, Ind.) turned in seven strong innings in route to his first win of the season April 2 as part of a doubleheader split. The Spartans, clinching the weekend win, got out of the gate fast in the opener with three runs scoring over the first two frames. A run-scoring single from Szarenski was coupled with a second tally crossing on a passed ball in the first while freshman designated hitter Joe Gallatin (Muncie, Ind.) continued to impress at the plate with a second-inning sacrifice fly to chase home sophomore infielder Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.). The quick start was enough for Kopplin who gave up only two hits over the first five innings. Senior bullpen standout Cory Ferguson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) proved strong again in the final two Bluffton at-bats moving around a run in the eighth and potential tying score on in the ninth for his second save. The April 1 opener was highlighted by sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) going three-for-four with a double to help lead a five-run rally over the eighth and ninth innings as part of a 5-1 victory … Gallatin and senior outfielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.) take lengthy streaks into the home stand. Gallatin has hit and reached base in 10 successive contests, while Schultz harbors a 17-game on-base streak … Three statistical categories are ranked among the league's top five through 19 games. Ferguson holds down residence in two of them, sitting tied for third in wins (three) and saves (two), while Schultz' five home runs are still tied for first … A battle between the two schools picked first and second on the HCAC preseason coaches' poll is on the schedule Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, as Earlham College takes a northern trip to North Manchester. Game times are set for 4:15 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday.