Four home conference games on tap for softball this week

Shelby Edington

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College softball team opens Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play at home to highlight a six-game slate this week.

SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers (7-9) begin HCAC play with a home doubleheader against Franklin, starting at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 3. Hanover then welcomes another HCAC rival, Manchester, for two games at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 6. The weekend closes with two games at DePauw (Ind.), one against the host Tigers and another versus Centre (Ky.).

BEURMAN PACING PANTHER PITCHING: Sophomore Lily Beurman (Evansville, Ind.) has been HC's ace in the circle this spring, posting a 2.40 earned run average and 6.50 hits allowed per seven innings, which are also among the conference leaders. The sophomore has 79 season strikeouts to place her among the top 20 nationally, while her 7.9 K's per game rank 37th in Division III. Two of Beurman's five wins have come in complete-game shutouts, making her one of just three HCAC pitchers with multiple shutouts this season.

EDINGTON AMONG HCAC'S BEST HITTERS: Junior Shelby Edington (New Goshen, Ind.) is having a career season at the plate, hitting .431 with 13 runs scored and nine RBI, all of which lead or co-lead the Panthers' attack. Edington's average is second in the HCAC, as so are her two home runs, which have come in the last three outings. The junior picked up three of HC's eight hits in a doubleheader with Thomas More (Ky.) last week.

300 CLUB: Sophomore Mackenzie Smith (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and senior Carlie Roark (Hebron, Ky.) are also batting over .300 for the Blue and Red. Smith has hit safely in 10 of the last 11 games, including four multi-hit performances. Roark has four multi-hit outings since returning from the team's annual Winter Break Trip in Florida, as she is currently at a career-best average of .333. The duo has a combined 18 runs scored and 12 RBI this spring.

SCOUTING FRANKLIN: Franklin will enter Wednesday with a 7-9 overall record and will also be opening HCAC play. The Grizzlies, who are coming off their Florida trip, have won three of their last four games. Franklin has a .313 batting average, scoring 5.1 runs per game and hoists a 4.33 ERA. Hanover and Franklin split last season's doubleheader at Hanover.

SCOUTING MANCHESTER: Manchester is 5-7 this season and will open HCAC competition at Bluffton Wednesday before making the trip to Hanover this weekend. The two sides split last season's meeting, which included a 9-0 Panther triumph. The Spartans, losers in five of their last six, are scoring close to six runs per game and hold a 3.54 ERA.

SCOUTING CENTRE: Centre is off to a 9-16 start and recently won three conference games against Millsaps (Miss.). The Colonels will face Thomas More Tuesday before heading to DePauw this weekend. Centre has recorded a .294 average through 25 games, scoring 5.1 runs per game and having a 6.37 ERA. Hanover and Centre met last season in Danville, Ky., a 7-5 win for the Colonels.

SCOUTING DEPAUW: DePauw has dropped four straight and sits at 8-8 entering the week. The Tigers will face Illinois Wesleyan, as well as conference-rivals Ohio Wesleyan and Allegheny (Pa.) this week before hosting HC and Centre. DePauw is posting a shade over five runs per outing, have a .337 batting average and a 5.09 ERA.

UP NEXT: Conference play continues next week with eight scheduled games for the Panthers. The stretch begins on the road Wednesday, April 10, with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Mount St. Joseph.

Contact: Tyler Jester