Panthers to host Wabash in first homes games of the season

Tanner Simpson making a pitch

HANOVER, Ind. - After opening the season with 11 neutral site games and one road contest, the Hanover baseball team is set to play its first home games of the 2018 season with a three-game series Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18 against Wabash at K.T. Young Ballpark. 

SCHEDULE CHANGE: The Panthers were scheduled to play at Thomas More (Ky.) earlier this week, but that game was postponed due to weather. A make-up date has been set for Wednesday, March 28. The game will be begin at 4 p.m. and will be played in Crestview Hills, Ky. on Thomas More's campus. 

SCOUTING WABASH: The Little Giants are off to a strong start with eight wins in their first 10 games. Wabash played Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Transylvania in a pair of games and won 12-4 in the first game before dropping the second 10-9 at Grand Park. Three players with at least 34 at-bats are hitting .400 or better led by sophomore Jackson Blevins. Blevins leads the team in average (.432), hits (16), doubles (8), triples (4), RBI (18) and is tied for the team lead with four stolen bases.

A pair of senior right-handers are off to strong starts for the pitching staff. Bryan Roberts is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 19.0 innings, while Cody Cochran is also 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 14.0 innings. The Little Giants are hitting .329 as a team and have a 3.89 team ERA through 10 games.

LAST WEEK: Hanover played five games last week, including its first true road game. The Panthers rallied from down 10-2 with a six-run eighth to get within two, but would drop Tuesday's game 10-8 at Centre (Ky.). Hanover then traveled to Westfield, Ind. to play Hope (Mich.) and Alma (Mich.) in a pair of doubleheaders at Grand Park over the weekend. Following a 6-4 win over Hope in game one Saturday, the Panthers fell 12-4 in the night cap, and then dropped both ends of Sunday's doubleheader against Alma 2-0 and 3-1.

HOME-OPENERS: Hanover has had some recent success in home-opening games. Since 2011, the Panthers are 5-2 in their first contest at home, including a 6-2 win over Olivet (Mich.) last year. Hanover went on to win all three games from the Comets a year ago en-route to a 10-6 record at K.T. Young Ballpark.

ZORB WINS SECOND: Junior pitcher Garett Zorb (Medina, Ohio) recorded a 2-3 record in 52.1 innings in 2017. Through three starts this season, the third-year hurler has already matched that win total with a 2-1 record. Zorb went 5.1 innings in Saturday's opening game against Hope and allowed three runs while scattering seven hits with a walk and a strikeout to help lead the Panthers to a 6-4 victory. In 16.1 innings, he's posted a 3.86 earned run average with 10 strikeouts. 

HEATING UP: After recording five hits in his first seven games of 2018, sophomore infielder Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) is beginning to heat up. In is five games last week, Coop hit safely in all five and finished the week 9-23 (.391). Included in those five contests were a pair of three-hit efforts that helped raise his average over 90 points to .292. 

ON DECK: Following this weekend's series, the Panthers will take to the road Wednesday, March 21 for a single game against Berea (Ky.) at 4 p.m., and then return home Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25 for a three-game series against Carroll (Wisc.) Saturday's game will begin at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday's doubleheader is set for a 12 p.m. start.

Contact: Mike Pritchard