HANOVER, Ind. – With weather forcing schedule changes, the Hanover College baseball team is slated for seven games and six days this week.
SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers (10-14, 2-6 HCAC) open the stretch with back-to-back Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road doubleheaders at Bluffton and Transylvania on Monday and Tuesday, April 22 and 23. Both series are scheduled for a 1 p.m. start. Hanover's final non-conference game is tabbed for Thursday, April 25, a 4 p.m. contest at Thomas More (Ky.). The weekly stretch is then capped with a home doubleheader against Defiance, which will be Senior Day for the Blue and Red. The home series is set for noon, Saturday, April 27.
LAST WEEK RECAP: Rain washed out Hanover's only scheduled doubleheader this past week, but the Panthers are coming off splits against Manchester and Anderson in the week prior. The Blue and Red earned a 19-5 triumph in the opener against the Spartans before falling 17-10 in the night cap in North Manchester. A home twin bill saw the Ravens take the opener 10-4, before HC rallied for a 4-3 victory in the finale.
Senior Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) was key to HC's success on offense, connecting with eight hits in 17 at-bats (.471), while driving in eight runs and scoring five times. Fitch has now hit safely in nine of the last 10 games and has a .370 season average.
Senior David Herrmann (Fishers, Ind.) and sophomore Grant Larimore (LaGrange, Ky.) each picked up wins on the mound. The duo combined for 10.0 innings pitched, allowing one earned run and striking out 10.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: A trio of Panthers lead the HCAC in specific batting categories this spring. Junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) has a conference-best .429 batting average, which also ranks among the top 50 in NCAA Division III. Walkenhorst has reached safely in 12 of the past 13 outings and has a team-best four home runs.
Larimore ranks 21st nationally in doubles per game, 0.5. The sophomore has a .311 average at the plate, including 12 doubles and two home runs, while also scoring 22 times.
Freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) is batting .325 and has seven of his 19 RBI in conference play. Littlefield also has five sacrifice flies, which paces the league and ranks 23rd nationally.
PANTHER PITCHING: With his win at Manchester, Herrmann improved to 3-0 on the season. The senior has a 2.81 earned run average and has a strikeout per nine inning clip of 7.88. Junior Zach Chapman (Loveland, Ohio) leads the team in ERA at 2.25, which is also third best in the HCAC. Sophomore Eli Copner (Zionsville, Ind.) has pitched the most innings for HC this spring, 38.2, hoisting a 3.26 ERA. Copner's walks allowed per nine inning mark of 0.7 ranks second in the HCAC and seventh nationally. He is also 17th across Division III in strikeout-to-walk ratio, 9.00.
UP NEXT: The Panthers close out the regular season with road doubleheaders at Rose-Hulman and Mt. St. Joseph. Games begin at RHIT at 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 1.
Contact: Tyler Jester