Baseball set for HCAC play this week at Franklin, Earlham

Josh Meszaros swinging the bat

HANOVER, Ind. - After splitting its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference-opening doubleheader against Manchester over the weekend, the Hanover baseball team will continue its conference season with twin bills at Franklin and Earlham this week.

The Panthers will open the week with two games at Franklin Thursday, April 5 and then travel to Richmond, Ind. Saturday, April 7 for another pair of contests. Both doubleheaders are scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

ANOTHER SCHEDULE CHANGE: For the fourth consecutive week Hanover has had a change to the schedule. Hanover and Franklin were originally set to play a conference doubleheader Tuesday, April 3, but weather has forced the teams to postpone the game until Thursday, April 5. 

LAST WEEK: Hanover finally got back onto the field after playing only two games in the previous 19 days because of inclement weather. The Panthers were scheduled to travel to Thomas More (Ky.) earlier in the week, but that game was postponed for the second time already. In game one of the HCAC season, junior pitcher Garett Zorb (Medina, Ohio) helped lead Hanover to a 7-1 win over Manchester. The Spartans responded in the second game with a 14-5 win to earn the split.  

Six different hitters finished the day with multiple hits. Senior Jack Shine (New Albany, Ind.) and junior Josh Meszaros (Loveland, Ohio) had three hits each, while junior Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) had two hits in each game to go along with three RBI on the day.

THE COMPETITION: Franklin will enter Thursday's contests with a 17-1 overall record and 2-0 in the HCAC. The Grizzlies have won their last six games, including a doubleheader sweep of HCAC foe Transylvania over the weekend. Franklin is 9-1 at home and has an conference-leading .345 team batting average and a 3.54 team earned run average through 18 games. 

Earlham comes into the week with a 15-5 overall mark and is 1-1 in the HCAC. The Quakers have lost three of their last four, including a doubleheader split against Bluffton last Friday. Through 20 games Earlham is hitting .289 and has a league-low 3.02 team earned run average. 

HCAC HONORS ZORB: Garett Zorb became the first Panther to be honored by the HCAC this spring as the junior hurler was named the league's Pitcher of the Week. Zorb threw a single-game best seven innings and allowed an unearned run on four hits, while matching a single-game best six strikeouts in Hanover's 7-1 win over Manchester Saturday. The win is his third of the season matching the three wins from his first two years combined. 

Zorb currently ranks seventh in the league in ERA at 2.45 and is second on the team in innings pitched (29.1) and strikeouts (18). Of his five starts, he has allowed one earned run or less in three of them.

CIUFFETELLI MAKING AN IMPACT: Freshman catcher Nick Ciuffetelli (Newburgh, Ind.) has gotten more opportunities as of late and is taking advantage of them. In his five starts, Ciuffetelli has hit safely in all five and is currently hitting .412 in 17 at-bats. Against Manchester, the freshman backstop had a hit and two runs scored in each game. 

He also had a three-hit, two-double performance in his second career start against Alma earlier in the year. 

ON DECK: Next week Hanover will host Rose-Hulman Tuesday, April 10 in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. at K.T. Young Ballpark and then travel to Anderson, Ind. Saturday, April 10 to play a pair of games against Anderson. That twin bill is also set to begin at 1 p.m.

Contact: Mike Pritchard