Spartans open HCAC tourney on high note

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NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University got just what the doctor ordered en route to an opening round win at the 2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships Thursday, May 8.

Senior starter Dylan Padgett (Kirklin, Ind.) fired eight sparkling innings, striking out seven Franklin College batters in the process. Padgett limited the Grizzlies to just three earned runs on seven hits and walked only one, keeping down an offense that was among the top three of the league in batting average en route to an 8-3 win.

Padgett, improving to 6-2 on the season, received more than enough support from the conference's top hitting crew. Single runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings were wrapped a pair of key multiple-run frames. Senior right fielder Ryne Lehrman (Hoagland, Ind.) picked up a key two-run single in a three-run third, while sophomore catcher Elliott Ford (Rome City, Ind.) and junior left fielder Justin Miller (Yorktown, Ind.) both drilled extra-base hits to put up two runs in the seventh due to a triple from Ford and a double from Miller.

Ford's three-bagger helped him become one of two Spartans to finish with multiple-hit contests. Ford ended with two, while freshman first baseman Tailur Szarenski (Bluffton, Ind.) tallied three safeties and scored two runs as did junior second baseman Logan Hug (Indianapolis, Ind.).

The two-time defending conference tournament champions, improving to 25-15, advance to a winner's bracket game against third-seeded Rose-Hulman. Game time at Gratz Field is 9:30 a.m.

NOTES: Hug ran his hit and on-base streaks to 13 straight each, while senior designated hitter Dan Maringer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) raised his on-base streak to 19 consecutive contests … MU has won three of four from Franklin (24-16) in the season series … The victory moved the Black and Gold to the 25-win mark for the sixth straight year.