NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – The crowd filing into the grandstand and around Manchester University's Gratz Field Saturday, April 8, was treated to offense and plenty of it.
The host Spartans and visiting Earlham College Quakers, picked as the preseason top two by the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches, gave credence to the honors, combining for 46 runs and 63 hits, 21 of which went for extra bases. The Black and Gold, moving to 9-14 overall and 6-5 in the league, scored nine times in the bottom of the eighth of the opener to win 14-10, while the Quakers, going to 11-9 overall and a similar 6-5 in loop action, used the same formula in the weekend series finale, plating six in the eighth to win 14-8 and avoid the sweep.
Coach Rick Espeset's squad saw many heroes that brought the home crowd to its feet often. Senior outfielder Chad Schultz (Fair Oaks, Ind.) headlined the list with three home runs, two in the second game, to go eight RBI and a monstrous 1.273 slugging percentage. Sophomore outfielder Tyler LaFollette (Warsaw, Ind.) wasn't far behind with six hits, including a triple and home run, and sophomore shortstop Braxton Riley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) tallied five hits and drove in two runs along with LaFollette and senior designated hitter Lucas Gramman (Lawrenceburg, Ind.).
Manchester University, winners of six of their last nine conference games, takes to the road to begin the season set against rival Anderson University Tuesday, April 11. First pitch at Don Brandon Field is 4:15 p.m.