HANOVER, Ind. - Following a week of final exams, the Hanover baseball team is set to host Bluffton (Ohio) Saturday, April 21 and then play Transylvania (Ky.) Monday, April 23 in a pair of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheaders. The twin bill against Bluffton is scheduled to start at 12 p.m., while game one Monday against the Pioneers is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
LAST WEEK: Hanover hosted Rose-Hulman Tuesday, April 10 and dropped both games 11-5 and 12-1 before traveling to Anderson, Ind. Friday, April 13 for two games against the Ravens. In that doubleheader, the Panthers fell 8-5 in the opening game, but scored eight runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings to win 11-4 in the night cap.
In Hanover's seven-run win over Anderson, which entered the day unbeaten at 6-0 in the HCAC, the Panthers scored a season-high 11 runs on a season-best 12 hits. Of those 12 hits, six went for extra bases, including a double, three triples and two home runs.
Junior Garett Zorb (Medina, Ohio) continued his strong season as he went 6.1 innings and allowed four runs with no walks and a strikeout. Zorb improved to 4-1 on the season, including 2-0 in three conference starts.
THE COMPETITION: Bluffton will make the trip to Hanover Saturday and bring a 15-12 overall record and 4-6 HCAC mark into the contests. The Beavers have lost three of their last four, including dropping its last two games to Mount St. Joseph (6-2, 5-2) last weekend in Cincinnati.
Bluffton currently ranks fifth in the HCAC in team batting average (.286), eighth in earned run average (5.34) and ninth in fielding percentage (.938), and is tied for seventh in the conference. Games against Anderson (4/17) and Olivet (4/19) scheduled for this week have already been postponed by the Beavers.
Transylvania enters this week with a 14-15 overall record and a 4-4 mark in league play. The Pioneers have dropped their last four games, including a pair of losses at Rose-Hulman (12-4, 5-4) last Saturday.
Through 29 games, Transylvania is ninth in the HCAC in hitting (.241), fifth in ERA (5.14) and second in fielding percentage (.954), and currently sits in fourth place in the league. Prior to Monday's games, the Pioneers will host Anderson Saturday, March 21.
STOVER COMES THROUGH: With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth inning of game two against Anderson Saturday, junior first baseman Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) came through in a big way as he delivered his first career grand slam to help the Panthers pull away for the 11-4 win. That home run capped off a game in which he also recorded an RBI single and his first collegiate triple, that plated two more runs. His six RBI set a new single-game high for him, one better than a five-RBI performance last year against Mount St. Joseph.
For the doubleheader, Stover finished 5 for 8 with two runs scored, six driven in, and two extra base hits. In 10 conference games, the junior is now batting .351 (13-37) with 10 RBI, three runs scored, three extra-base hits and five walks.
CHAPMAN THROWING WELL: Sophomore left-handed pitcher Zach Chapman (Loveland, Ohio) has done a nice job out of the bullpen for the Panthers lately. The second-year southpaw tossed the final 2.2 innings in Saturday's win over Anderson to pick up his first save of the season and second of his career.
After allowing 12 runs in 12.2 innings as a freshman, Chapman has already thrown 16.1 innings this spring and allowed only five earned runs with 13 strikeouts for a 2.76 ERA. In five appearances in HCAC games, he has given up only two unearned runs in 8.2 innings and struck out six.
ON DECK: Following Monday's games against Transylvania, Hanover will only have six scheduled games remaining. Four of those games will be played Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29. The Panthers will first travel to Defiance (Ohio) Saturday for a conference doubleheader and then return to the road the next day to play two games at Thomas More (Ky.) Sunday. The games against the Saints are scheduled as make-up games from earlier in the season.
Contact: Mike Pritchard