Baseball Hosts Franklin in Showdown of Top HCAC Teams This Weekend

Baseball Hosts Franklin in Showdown of Top HCAC Teams This Weekend



RICHMOND, Indiana – The Earlham College baseball team hosts Franklin College for a three-game, Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) series at Sadler Stadium this weekend.

The Series: Earlham and Franklin are scheduled to play a single game at 4:15 p.m. on Friday followed by a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday.

The Teams: Earlham and Franklin. The Quakers stand at 8-5 overall and 3-1 in HCAC play after shutting out Bluffton University 7-0 on Tuesday. The Grizzlies are 11-6 on the season and also 3-1 in conference play after a 9-8 win over Hanover College this week.

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 (124) and has led the Quakers to the HCAC Tournament the past two seasons. Lance Marshall, who is also an assistant director of athletics at Franklin, is in his 19th season leading the Grizzlies' baseball program.

Hitters to Watch: Senior Eric Elkus leads the team in home runs (four) and RBIs (28) while also holding a .357 batting average. Freshman Danny Dopp leads the squad with a .444 batting average to go along with 21 RBIs. Seniors Nate Lynch and Brennan Laird have combined for 31 stolen bases. As a team, Earlham boasts a .324 batting average. Sam Claycamp is the centerfield of Franklin's offense as he's tallied five home runs and 20 RBIs to go along with a .397 batting average. Mitch Schuman leads the team in batting average at .474. 

Pitchers to Watch: Sophomore Walter Talcott, who started his first game of the season against Wilmington on March 18, has a perfect ERA in 5.2 innings pitched to go along with nine strikeouts. Senior Howie Smith and freshman Jordan Christian, who both earned wins at Rose-Hulman last weekend, have ERAs of 4.81 and 4.50 respectively. Freshman Spencer Owen has a 2.25 ERA in four innings pitch out of the Quakers' bullpen. Additionally, freshman Kyle Gorman has a 4.42 ERA after a complete-game, shutout victory over Bluffton on Tuesday. Mitchell Caster is the ace of the Franklin pitching staff thus far this season. He leads the team in wins (three), innings pitched (32.3), and ERA (1.65). Jordan Clark has three saves out of the bullpen.

Leading the HCAC: Eric Elkus and Danny Dopp are first and second respectively in the HCAC in RBIs while Nate Lynch leads the conference in stolen bases.

Chasing Program Records: Eric Elkus has 107 career RBIs and 20 career home runs. The Edgewood, Kentucky, native is six RBIs and six home runs away from setting career program bests in each category. Additionally, Nate Lynch has 60 stolen bases and is four away from setting the program's career mark.

Tops In the Country: Earlham No. 1 in all of NCAA Division III baseball in stolen bases per game at 4.50 swipes per contest. The Quakers are also ninth in scoring at 9.9 runs per game. Eric Elkus leads the nation individually in RBIs per game at 2.33.

Recent History: Earlham is 6-12 against Franklin since joining the HCAC prior to the 2011 season. The Quakers won the series over the Grizzlies on the road last year, winning game one 9-4, losing game two 21-18, and winning game three 11-5.

Coverage: Live statistics and live video of all three contests will be available – visit the links above.

Up Next: Earlham hosts Bluffton for a 4:15 p.m. contest at Randal R. Sadler Stadium on Tuesday before beginning a 12-game, 21-day road swing.