HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College baseball team continues Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play this weekend with a home doubleheader against Anderson.
SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers (9-13, 1-5 HCAC) enter the weekend just two games out of third place in the HCAC standings. The top five schools at the end of the regular season will qualify for the HCAC's postseason tournament. Hanover hosts Anderson for a twin bill beginning at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 13, at K.T. Young Ballpark.
OFFENSE COMES ALIVE AT MANCHESTER: During a Tuesday doubleheader at Manchester, Hanover scored 29 runs on 33 hits to split the day's games. The Blue and Red won the opener 19-5 before falling 17-10 in the night cap. Hanover's double-digit performances give the team six appearances with 10-plus runs this season and marked the first time since early March 2017, that the squad produced back-to-back double-digit outings.
HOT BATS: Junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) and senior Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) were key components to Hanover's offensive production this past Tuesday and are now the top two, in terms of batting average, on the team this spring. Walkenhorst also leads the HCAC and ranks 38th nationally with a .446 average. The junior paces the league in on-base percentage (.538) and slugging (.723) as well, which rank 34th and 41st in NCAA Division III, respectively.
Fitch has hit safely in seven of his last eight outings, a stretch that has the senior with a .48 average. On the season, Fitch is hitting .369 with 18 RBI, both of which rank second on the team.
300 CLUB: Four players with at least 70 at-bats have a batting average of .300 or better. Senior Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.), junior Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.), sophomore Grant Larimore (LaGrange, Ky.) and freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) all have season averages above .300, double-digit RBI and 14-plus runs scored. Stover and Coop are hitting .338 and .337 respectively, with each scoring 21 runs. Larimore, who went 6-for-11 in two games Tuesday, has a .323 average and a team-best 22 runs scored. Littlefield paces the quartet with a .347 average and has a team-high 19 RBI.
PITCHING NOTES: The Panthers are among the conference leaders in earned run average this season, 4.96. Leading the way is senior David Herrmann (Fishers, Ind.) and sophomore Eli Copner (Zionsville, Ind.). Herrman has a 2.81 ERA and is coming off 5.1 innings of work Tuesday, allowing just one earned run. The senior is 3-0 this spring and has a team-best mark in strikeouts per nine innings, 7.88.
Copner is 3-1 this season with a 3.15 ERA. The sophomore is second in the conference and 18th nationally in walks allowed per nine innings, 0.79. He is also second among his conference counterparts with a 7.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
SCOUTING ANDERSON: Anderson enters the weekend with a 12-9 overall record and a 3-3 mark in HCAC competition. The Ravens have won four straight overall, including each of their last three league games, all of which has seen AU tally seven or more runs. For the season, Anderson has a collective .266 batting average and is scoring 5.4 runs per game. On the mound, the Ravens concede a .263 average and have a 5.91 ERA.
Hanover has won three of five meetings over the past two seasons, including a 2-1 mark at home back in 2017. The Panthers also split last season's road doubleheader, including an 11-4 victory.
UP NEXT: After a week off, Hanover will travel to face Bluffton for two games Saturday, April 20. The Panthers and Beavers begin their doubleheader at noon.
Contact: Tyler Jester