RICHMOND, Indiana – The Earlham College baseball team looks for a second consecutive season sweep of Bluffton University when the Beavers come to Sadler Stadium for a 4:15 p.m. contest on Tuesday.
The Teams: Earlham and Bluffton. The Quakers are 18-11 overall and 13-6 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play after a sweep of Anderson University last weekend. The Beavers are 13-18 overall and 6-13 in conference competition, but did defeat Franklin College 2-1 in a series last weekend.
The Coaches: Steve Sakosits is in his seventh season leading the Earlham baseball program. A coach of 38 All-HCAC honorees, Sakosits is the program's all-time leader in career victories (134) and has led the Quakers to the HCAC Tournament the past two seasons. James Grandey is in his 14th season leading the Bluffton baseball program.
Hitters to Watch: Senior Eric Elkus leads the Quakers offensively with 14 doubles, five home runs, 45 RBIs, and a .581 slugging percentage. Fellow senior Brennan Laird has a .322 batting average, 34 RBIs, 24 walks, and 22 stolen bases while senior Nate Lynch has a .417 batting average, 50 hits, and 34 stolen bases. Luke Hickey and Blake Fox continue to lead the Beaver offense as both over .340 batting averages and have driven in over 20 runs.
Pitchers to Watch: Senior Howie Smith has a 6-3 record with a 3.45 ERA in a team-high 60.0 innings pitched. Smith, who has pitched three complete games, also has 52 strikeouts to go along with just five walks. Freshman Kyle Gorman has a 3-1 record with a 4.20 ERA while freshman Spencer Owen, who earned his second collegiate save at Anderson, boasts a 1.04 ERA out of the Quakers' bullpen. Jaylen Von Sossan has a 1.71 ERA in 47.1 innings pitched for Bluffton's pitching staff.
Recent History: Earlham is 6-8 against Bluffton since joining the HCAC prior to the 2011 season. The Quakers have won the last six meetings, however.
Chasing Career Program Records: Eric Elkus, who already broke the career RBIs record, is four home runs away from tying Ryan Hayes' (2011-14) program record of 25. Nate Lynch, already the career leader in stolen bases, is closing in on the career records for hits and runs.
Home Sweet Home: Earlham returns home for the first time in three weeks on Tuesday. The Quakers went 8-4 on the road swing.
HCAC Player of the Week: Howie Smith has been named the HCAC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season after pitching his third complete game in the first contest at Anderson last weekend.
National Statistics: Earlham is second in all of NCAA Division III baseball in stolen bases per game at 3.58 swipes per contest. Nate Lynch leads the country in stolen bases per game (1.24) and is second in total stolen bases (34).
Coverage: Live statistics and live video of the contest will be available – visit the links above.
Up Next: Earlham travels to Wittenberg University for a 6 p.m. contest on Wednesday