HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College baseball team will look to bounce back from a two-loss weekend and return to its strong form to start the season with four non-conference games this week.
SETTING THE SCENE: Hanover (6-5), coming off a 2-3 record last week, will open play this week with two home games against Sewanee (Tenn.). The Panthers and Tigers will play one game both Wednesday and Thursday, March 20 and 21, with a 4 p.m. first pitch. The Blue and Red then head to Wilmington (Ohio) for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 24.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: Hanover's early season success can be attributed to its performance at the plate, as the Blue and Red currently lead the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in batting average, .299, and runs scored per game, 6.5. The squad is also recording three doubles per outing, which paces the league and ranks ninth in NCAA Division III. Hanover has scored double-digit runs in three games this season, including both wins last week, 10-3 versus Eureka (Ill.) and 17-8 versus Wabash (Ind.).
COOP MAKES HISTORY: Junior infielder Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) put together one of the more memorable offensive performances in recent history during this past weekend's three-game set at Wabash. The junior recorded a hit in 10-of-15 at-bats, including four doubles. Coop opened the series by going 6-7 at the plate, tying the program record for hits in a game. On the season, Coop has a .431 batting average and leads the team in hits (22), RBI (12) and runs scored (10).
WALKENHORST'S SOLID START: Junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) is coming off a 3-4 game at Wabash on Sunday and currently leads the team in batting average at a .500 clip. Walkenhorst, 13-for-26 on the season, has the second-best average in the HCAC while also ranking 36th nationally.
PITCHING PROPELS PANTHERS: Hanover has posted the top earned run average in the HCAC this spring, 3.71. Senior David Herrmann (Fishers, Ind.) has made two starts, producing a 0.68 ERA over 13.1 innings. Herrmann has conceded just 10 hits and struck out nine batters. Junior Zach Chapman (Loveland, Ohio) has made three appearances, including two starts, as he has a 1.38 ERA. Chapman has accumulated 13.0 innings on the mound, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven batters.
SCOUTING SEWANEE: Sewanee is off to a 13-7 start and has won five of its last seven outings, including a 32-11 triumph over Eureka. The Tigers are batting .288 as a team, averaging 6.5 runs scored per game. On the mound, Sewanee has a team ERA of 4.20.
This will be the first meeting this decade between the Panthers and Tigers.
SCOUTING WILMINGTON: Wilmington is 3-11 this spring and is coming off a 1-2 weekend against 2018 HCAC champion Franklin. The Quakers dropped two games by two runs or fewer to the Grizzlies before taking an 18-9 decision in the series finale. Hanover College alum, Tony Vittorio ('88) is in his first season at the helm of the Quakers, who are averaging 5.0 runs per game with a .276 batting average. Wilmington, with a team ERA of 8.07, has given up eight or more runs in eight of 14 games this season.
Hanover and Wilmington have met twice since 2007, with the Panthers taking both sets of a home doubleheader in 2013, 12-3 and 4-1.
Contact: Tyler Jester