RICHMOND, Indiana – The Earlham College baseball team plays its final non-conference game of the 2017 regular season at Wittenberg University on Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
The Teams: Earlham and Wittenberg. The Quakers are 19-11 overall after a 9-1 win over Bluffton University on Tuesday. The Tigers are 10-22 and have lost six of their last seven games.
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 (135) and has led the Quakers to the HCAC Tournament the past two seasons. Brian McGee is in his first season as Wittenberg's head baseball coach.
Hitters to Watch: Senior Eric Elkus leads the Quakers offensively with 14 doubles, five home runs, 45 RBIs, and a .570 slugging percentage. Fellow senior Brennan Laird has a .336 batting average, 36 RBIs, 24 walks, and 24 stolen bases while senior Nate Lynch has a .415 batting average, 51 hits, and 36 stolen bases. Wittenberg features a balanced offensive attack as eight players have driven in over 10 runs. Matt Baker has .307 batting average to go along with 14 RBIs, and six stolen bases.
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 4-1 record with a 3.44 ERA while freshman Spencer Owen, who earned his second collegiate save at Anderson, boasts a 1.04 ERA out of the Quakers' bullpen. Jonathon Forster leads the Tigers pitching staff with 41.1 innings pitched and 25 strikeouts.
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.
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 (36).
Coverage: Live statistics of the contest will be available – visit the link above.
Up Next: Earlham hosts Transylvania University for senior weekend this weekend. The Quakers and Pioneers will play a single game on Friday followed by a doubleheader on Saturday.