WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania – The Earlham College baseball team takes on Washington & Jefferson (W&J) College on day two of the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional on Friday.
The Teams: Earlham and W&J. The Quakers are 30-12 and have won 11 straight contests dating back to April 26. The Presidents are 35-10 overall and qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament by winning the President's Athletic Conference (PAC) Tournament. W&J ousted Misericordia University 12-7 in game one of the regional.
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 (146) and led the Quakers to their first HCAC regular season and tournament championships in 2017. Jeff Mountain is in his season as head coach at W&J and has led the Presidents to six NCAA Tournament appearances.
Hitters to Watch: Senior Nate Lynch leads Earlham in average at a .405 clip while also driving in 32 runs at the top of the batting order. Lynch, who leads NCAA Division III in stolen bases, has swiped 46 bases this season. Senior Eric Elkus, the program's career leader in runs batted in, has 58 RBIs to go along with nine home runs, 17 doubles, and a .345 batting average. Seniors Brennan Laird and Matt Barger both hit over .320, have driven in at least 25 runs, and have stolen at least 25 bases. Derek Helbing and, Nick Vento, and Frank Fortunato have driven in over 45 runs to lead a W&J offense that is one of two teams (Wooster) to score of 400 runs this year. Helbing are 11 home runs for the Presidents.
Pitchers to Watch: Howie Smith is Earlham's career leader in wins and boasts a 2.48 ERA in 94.1 innings pitched. The senior also leads the team in wins with nine and strikeouts with 71. Freshman Kyle Gorman is 7-1 with a 3.01 ERA in 71.2 innings pitched while freshman Spencer Owen has a 1.21 ERA and three saves out of the Quakers' bullpen. Riley Groves is 9-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 70.2 innings pitches to lead the Presidents' pitching staff. Matt Heslin and Bryce Schnatterly also have ERAs under 3.00 for W&J.
NCAA Tournament History: Earlham is 1-0 all-time in the NCAA Division III Tournament after the 6-2 win over Wooster. The win was the Quakers' first NCAA Tournament win as a department.
Tops in The Country: Earlham leads NCAA Division III in stolen bases (149) and stolen bases per game (3.63). W&J is second in is the nation in runs and third in the country in batting average.
Tickets: General admission is $6 for adults and $3 for students and children. A $20 pass for the entire tournament is also available. Children ages six and under are free. Parking is $5 per car.
Coverage: Live video and live statistics will be available - visit the links above.
Up Next: Earlham will face either LaRoche, SUNY Cortland, or DePauw on Saturday.