Bluffton series next for Spartans

Bluffton series next for Spartans and American Baseball Coaches Association's No. 15-ranked Manchester University takes a weekend trip to Bluffton University of Ohio Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27.

The series against the Beavers, set for Memorial Field on Bluffton's campus, consists of one nine-inning game Friday at 4:15 p.m. and a pair of nine-inning contests Saturday, beginning at 12 p.m. Fans can follow live statistics, courtesy of a link at, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics, during the weekend series.

Spartan Shorts:  With seven games remaining on the 2013 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule, the league-leading Black and Gold hold a three-game edge on second-place Anderson University and four-and-a-half game lead on third place Defiance. … MU (25-5-1 overall, 15-2 HCAC) remained within the top 15 of the and American Baseball Coaches Association polls, listed at No. 15 on each. … Manchester University has two-or-more players ranked among the top five in five of the HCAC's statistical categories. Senior pitcher Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.) leads the way in earned run average (1.21) and saves (eight) as does junior third baseman Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind.) with 51 RBIs and senior pitcher Kyle Konarski (Elkhart, Ind.) with seven wins. Fellow senior pitcher Justin Scott (Fort Wayne, Ind.) is second in ERA (1.78), while Nieman's five home runs are tied for second. Rounding out the marks are sophomore second baseman Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) (3rd – batting average - .392/T-4th – RBIs – 31/4th – stolen bases - 14); senior shortstop Corey Marchant (Fort Wayne, Ind.) (third – RBIs – 32); senior outfielder Cody Schell (Granger, Ind.) (fifth – stolen bases – 13); Scott (T-3rd – wins – five); and Murphy (fifth – batting average - .375). … Several of the Spartans' numbers transfer well onto the NCAA Division III statistics report, too. MU is within the top 10 team-wise in hit by pitches (62 – 6th), earned run average (2.62 – 8th), win-loss percentage (.823 – 8th) and on-base percentage (.425 – 10th). Individually, Nieman is leading the nation in RBIs per game (1.65) and is third overall with his 51, while Murphy's eight saves are ranked eighth. … MU has won five straight and 17 of the last 19 in the series against Bluffton dating back through 2006.

Regular Season Final Week: The Spartans travel to Defiance College of Ohio Tuesday, April 30, and host the College of Mt. St. Joseph Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4.

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