GREENWOOD, Ind. – Franklin College claimed its first regular season baseball title since 2009 this spring and fourth overall, earning the right to host the 2018 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament. The tournament will be held at John P. McDowell Stadium Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on the campus of Franklin in Franklin, Indiana.
The Grizzlies, coached by Lance Marshall, earned the No. 1 seed with a 35-3 record overall and a 17-1 mark in league play. Anderson finished second with a 11-7 record in HCAC action and an overall mark of 22-18. Rose-Hulman placed third in the league standings, posting a 19-21 overall record and 10-7 tally in league play. Manchester University (19-20, 9-8 HCAC) finished fourth and Bluffton University (21-16, 9-9 HCAC) finished fifth in the conference standings and rounds out the five team field.
No. 4 seed Manchester opens play in the 2018 HCAC Baseball Tournament at 9:30 a.m. against No. 5 Bluffton on Thursday. No. 2 seed Anderson will face No. 3 Rose-Hulman in the second game at 12:30 p.m.
Franklin has won nine of its last 10 games and finished the season in league play batting .365 with 42 doubles and 33 home runs. The Grizzlies also lead the conference in pitching earned run average at 3.10.
Anderson won four of its last 10 games to finish in second place in the final conference standings. The Ravens hit .311 with eight triples and five home runs, while posting a 4.32 ERA on the mound during conference play.
Rose-Hulman won eight of its last 10 games to move into third place in the conference standings this spring. The Fightin' Engineers hit .289 with 31 doubles and two home runs, while posting a 3.89 ERA on the mound during league play.
Manchester won three of its last five conference games to achieve the No. 4 seed heading into the tournament. The Spartans tallied a .280 batting average and 28 doubles with 76 RBI and they led the league with three strikeouts and a total of 110 strikeouts from the pitching staff.
Bluffton received the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament and finished with a .245 batting average and 25 doubles with 72 RBI.
Three games will be played Friday, beginning at 9:30 a.m., and the championship game in the double-elimination event is set for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. An automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship will be awarded to the winner of the championship.
Admission to the tournament will be available: $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and non-HCAC students. Children 11 and under are free. HCAC permanent passes and HCAC faculty, staff, and students with ID are honored. A weekend pass for $20 will also be available.