RICHMOND, Indiana – The Earlham College baseball team continues Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) with a three-game series at Manchester University this weekend.
The Teams: Earlham and Manchester. The Quakers stand at 10-7 overall and 5-3 in HCAC play after an 8-3 win over Bluffton University on Tuesday. The Spartans are 7-13 overall after falling to reigning Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) champion Otterbein University 17-6 on Tuesday.
The Coaches: Steve Sakosits is in his seventh season leading the Earlham baseball program. A coach of 38 All-HCAC honorees, Sakosits is the program's all-time leader in career victories (126) and has led the Quakers to the HCAC Tournament the past two seasons. Rick Espeset is in his 21st season as Manchester's head baseball coach. Also the athletics direction, Espeset has led the Spartans to berths in the NCAA Division III College World Series in 2004 and 2013.
Hitters to Watch: Freshman Danny Dopp leads the Quakers' offense with a .426 batting average. Dopp is also second on the squad in RBIs at 22. Senior Eric Elkus, who has driven in 33 runs this season, carries the Quakers in extra base hits with seven doubles and four home runs. Seniors Nate Lynch and Brennan Laird have combined to steal 37 bases. Taylor Szarenski leads the Spartans offensive efforts with a .348 batting average. Chad Schultz has a team-high nine doubles while Joe Gallatin has driven in 17 runs.
Pitchers to Watch: Senior Howie Smith has pitched a team-high 31.1 innings and also leads Earlham's pitching staff in wins with four and strikeouts with 29. Freshmen Kyle Gorman and Jordan Christian has a 4.73 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched while sophomore Walter Talcott and freshman Spencer Owen have sub-2.00 ERAs in 5.2 innings pitched for each. Cory Ferguson is 3-1 on the season for Manchester with 23 strikeouts. Brandon Eck has pitched 31.2 innings to lead the Spartans' staff.
HCAC Honors: Freshman pitcher Kyle Gorman garnered HCAC Pitcher of the Week honors. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native needed 90 pitches to shutout Bluffton last Tuesday.
Chasing Program Records: Eric Elkus has 112 career RBIs and is tied with Ted Williams (2011-14) for the most RBIs in program history. Nate Lynch, who as stolen 63 career bases, is also tied for the program's career mark with Mark Vagades (1968-71). Additionally, Howie Smith has 18 career wins and is one win shy of tying the program's best career mark (Ron Williams, 1967-70).
Tops In the Country: Earlham No. 1 in all of NCAA Division III baseball in stolen bases per game at 4.46 swipes per contest. The Quakers are also seventh in scoring at 9.7 runs per game. Eric Elkus leads the nation individually in RBIs per game at 2.15.
Recent History: The Quakers are 6-12 against the Spartans since joining the HCAC prior to the 2011 season. Earlham took the series 2-1 at Sadler Stadium last season.
Coverage: Live statistics and live video of all three contest will be available – visit the links above.
Up Next: Earlham faces Mount St. Joseph University for a 6 p.m. contest on Tuesday, April 6.