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Spartans close out sweep of Earlham

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – No. 16-ranked D3Baseball.com and No. 19-ranked American Baseball Coaches Association Division III Manchester University used a strong combination of offense and pitching to secure a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference series sweep of Earlham College Saturday, April 6.

The Spartans, moving to 19-3-1 overall and 9-1 in league play, compiled 14 runs and 18 hits in game one to win 14-3. The nightcap saw senior starting pitcher Justin Scott (Fort Wayne, Ind.) fire eight sparkling innings to highlight a 7-4 victory.

Scott, improving to 3-1, limited the Quakers (6-18, 2-8 HCAC) to just two earned runs and issued only one free pass while striking out five over eight and two-thirds innings. Senior Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.) nailed down the decision, forcing a fly ball, as the visitors brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, for his sixth save.

MU's offense gave Scott plenty of support. Sophomore second baseman Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) drilled a two-run home run as part of a three-run second, while freshman catcher Aaron Wells (Cowan, Ind.), making the most of his first collegiate start behind the dish, finished with three hits and two RBIs.

Game one saw a quartet of Spartans finish with three-hit contests. Bryce Murphy, senior first baseman Brad Murphy (Fort Wayne, Ind.), senior shortstop Corey Marchant (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Kimm each reached the mark. Kimm, clouting one of the home side's four two-baggers, and junior third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.) each had three RBIs. Nieman also tripled as part of a two-hit game.

Senior Kyle Konarski (Elkhart, Ind.) was the benefactor of the opening game offensive outburst. He moved his record to 5-0 behind a seven-inning, four-strikeout performance.

Manchester University resumes its current eight-game home stand Tuesday, April 9, when Defiance College of Ohio visits Gratz Field for a single, nine-inning game that begins at 4:15 p.m.

NOTES: MU increased its edge on the HCAC standings to two games over second-place Hanover. … Bryce Murphy and Marchant moved their on-base streaks to 28 and 24, respectively, during the weekend, while Bryce Murphy increased his current team-leading hit streak to nine games. … The Black and Gold hit a robust .368 over the three-game weekend. Bryce Murphy topped the individual list at .615 with eight hits and five RBIs, while Kimm and Niemann each had six hits and had .462 averages.