Softball set to open home slate against Capital and Fontbonne

Lily Beurman

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College softball team is set for a quartet of games to open its 2019 home slate this weekend.

SETTING THE SCENE: With weather washing out a scheduled doubleheader at Hope (Mich.) last weekend, the Panthers will return to action this weekend after a 15-day layoff. Hanover hosts Capital (Ohio) for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m., Friday, March 15, before welcoming Fontbonne (Mo.) at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 16.

FLORIDA TRIP REVIEW: The Blue and Red posted a 3-5 record during their annual season-opening Winter Break trip to Florida. Highlighting Hanover's performance were two shutout wins, 19-0 (5 inn.) against Northern Vermont-Johnson and 1-0 vs. Saint Mary's (Minn.). The Panthers are the lone school in the HCAC with multiple shutouts this season and rank among the top 35 in the nation for most clean sheets. As a team, HC hit .289, while adding a conference-best .396 on-base percentage.

EDINGTON'S HOT START: Junior Shelby Edington (New Goshen, Ind.) is off to a fast start in 2019, as she currently leads the HCAC in hits (15) and batting average (.600). Her average is also 60th-best in NCAA Division III. Edington has posted a hit in all eight games this season and dating back to last season has reached via hit in 11 of the past 13 outings. To go along with seven runs and six RBI, the junior has six games this season with multiple hits.

BEURMAN IN THE CIRCLE: Sophomore Lily Beurman (Evansville, Ind.) was the Panthers' pitching ace down in Florida, making seven appearances, all of which were starts. Beurman has a 3.60 earned run average through 35.0 innings of work. The sophomore currently leads the HCAC and ranks 20th in Division III with 37 strikeouts. Highlighting her performance thus far is a complete-game shutout effort against SMU. In the win, Beurman struck out a career-high 11 batters, while allowing just four hits.

SENIORS SHINING: A pair of seniors in Tori Luster (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Carlie Roark (Hebron, Ky.) joined Edington with success at the plate down south. Luster has a .353 average with a team-high seven RBI, as well as nine walks. She also has the team's lone home run this season. Roark is batting over .318 through eight appearances and has scored three runs.

SCOUTING CAPITAL: Capital will also enter the weekend with a two-week layoff after traveling to Florida at the end of February and the beginning of March. The Crusaders are 3-5 on the season, including wins over HCAC-institution Rose-Hulman and NVU-Johnson, as well as a 3-1 loss to Saint Mary's. Capital has a team batting average of .323 behind two batters with marks over .400 in Alyx Slusher and Erica Ogden. The pitching staff, allowing a 9.06 mark as a whole, is led by Brianna Reardon, who has a 3-3 record and 15 strike outs.

Hanover and Capital will be meeting at Kops-Bedel Stadium for the third consecutive season. The Panthers won both sets of a doubleheader last season, 13-7 and 9-2.

SCOUTING FONTBONNE: Fontbonne is 0-9 heading into this weekend's series at Hanover. Last time out, the Griffins fell in a pair of one-run games to Huntingdon (Ala.) on March 9. Diamond Thomas paces Fontbonne at the plate and in the circle. Thomas has a .360 batting average and a 3.55 ERA.

The two sides were scheduled to play last season in St. Louis, but it was cancelled due to weather.

Contact: Tyler Jester