Six-game week headlined by conference opener for softball

Team celebration

HANOVER, Ind. – The opening of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play highlights a six-game week for the Hanover College softball team.

SETTING THE SCENE: Hanover begins the stretch with a home doubleheader against Thomas More (Ky.) at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 26. League play then opens with a twin bill at Defiance, beginning at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 30. The weekly slate concludes with another home doubleheader, this time against Wilmington at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 31.

LAST WEEK RECAP: The Panthers (7-7) split a road doubleheader at Spalding (Ky.) last Friday, March 22. Hanover dropped the opener, 1-0, before taking Game Two, 10-1, in five innings. Senior Carlie Roark (Hebron, Ky.) and junior Shelby Edington (New Goshen, Ind.) both homered in the win, as Roark and sophomore Mackenzie Smith (Jeffersonville, Ind.) each posted two extra-base hits. Smith added a double and triple during the victory.

Senior Allison Wiseman (New Albany, Ind.) earned the win in the pitching circle, going the full five innings, scattering five hits and allowing one run. Wiseman also recorded a season-high five strikeouts in the performance.

HANOVER OFFENSE: The Blue and Red are hitting .305 as a team through 14 games this season, averaging a shade over four runs per game. Six regular starters are hitting over .300 for HC, led by Edington at .422. The junior also has a team-high 12 runs scored and has added eight RBI. Roark is up to .381 on the season and is batting .450 since the team returned from its annual Winter Break Trip in Florida. The senior has added eight runs and 7 RBI as well.

Senior Tori Luster (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman Kiley Shedron (Cloverdale, Ind.) are among the top run producers for HC, driving in eight and nine runs, respectively. Luster is batting .333, while Shedron is at .316 in her first collegiate campaign.

Smith and junior Jennah Ruddick (McCordsville, Ind.) are both hitting over .300 as well. Smith, who is currently enjoying a nine-game hit streak, is batting .327 with nine runs and three stolen bases. Ruddick has appeared in 12 games, batting .310 with five RBI and three runs scored.

PANTHER PITCHING: Hanover has a team earned run average of 3.80, which includes five shutouts. The five shutouts lead the HCAC and ranks 18th in NCAA Division III.

Sophomore Lily Beurman (Evansville, Ind.) leads the group with a 2.04 ERA. Beurman's five wins are second-most in the HCAC. The sophomore also paces the league and ranks 12th in Division III with 71 season strikeouts.

Wiseman's victory last time out improved her to 2-1 on the season. Through four appearances, including three starts, the senior has bounced back from injury last year with a 3.13 ERA in 15.2 innings of work.

LOOKING AT THE OPPONENTS: Thomas More, HC's first opponent, is 11-7 this spring and riding a six-game winning streak. The Saints have won 30 games in each of the last three seasons, four of the last five, and are coming off a 2018 campaign in which they finished 32-16 and appeared in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Defiance is 7-9 and will face Albion (Mich.) before welcoming Hanover this weekend. The Yellow Jackets have lost five of their last seven but do hold a four-game winning streak over the Panthers.

Wilmington is enjoying a 10-4 start this spring and face Berea (Ky.) Tuesday and John Carroll (Ohio) Saturday before making the trip over to Kops-Bedel Stadium on Sunday. The Quakers enter the week winners of five of their last seven. Hanover though, has won four straight in the series, including a doubleheader sweep on the road last season, 7-2 and 10-0.

UP NEXT: The Panthers continue a busy stretch with six additional games next week. The stretch begins with a home doubleheader against HCAC-rival Franklin at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 3.

Contact: Tyler Jester