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Anderson Chosen as Preseason HCAC Baseball Favorite

January 29, 2014
Earlham College Broadcast Sports



GREENWOOD, IN - The Anderson University baseball team has been selected as the
favorite to claim the 2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball
championship.  The Ravens received 88 total points and four first place votes in the
annual HCAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, edging out defending champion Manchester by a
single point.

The poll collects votes from all ten head coaches in the HCAC.  Manchester
University received the second most votes in the poll and finished with 87 total
points and three first place votes.  Franklin College finished third in the poll
with 81 points and three first place votes and was followed by Transylvania
University which claimed 68 points.  Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (61
points), Defiance College (51), Earlham College (38), Bluffton University (35),
Hanover College (31), and College of Mount St. Joseph (10) rounded out the poll.

Anderson will be looking for its third HCAC baseball title as the Ravens enter the
2014 season.  AU will be striving for the school's sixth straight HCAC Tournament
appearance this spring.  Anderson finished second during the 2013 season with a
15-10 conference mark, finishing seven games behind conference champion Manchester.

The Ravens return two All-HCAC first-team members from last season's team.  Junior
outfielder Jake Craft (LaPorte, Ind./H.S.) led the squad at the plate as a
sophomore, batting .339 (61-for-180) with 42 runs, 27 RBI, 13 doubles, and seven
home runs.  Junior outfielder Jeremy Shelmadine (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Carroll) also
earned first-team honors, hitting .331 with 32 runs scored, 22 RBI, and eight
doubles as a sophomore.

On the mound, Anderson will be led by All-HCAC second-team selection Jake Eaton
(LaPorte, Ind./H.S.).  The junior pitcher was 6-1 on the hill last year with a 3.64
earned run average and 48 strikeouts in 59.1 innings of work.

Manchester will be looking for the school's sixth HCAC baseball title this spring.
The Spartans ran away with the conference crown in 2013, earning a 22-3 league
record.  Manchester won the HCAC tournament crown and NCAA Division III Mideast
Regional before dropping a pair of contests at the NCAA Division III World Series in
Appleton, Wisconsin.  MU finished the season 39-7-1 overall.

The Spartans enter the 2014 season ranked No. 7 in the D3baseball.com Preseason Top
25 Poll.  Manchester returns three All-HCAC first-team selections to the lineup this
spring, including Preseason All-American Jordan Nieman (Michigan City, Ind./H.S.).
Nieman, a senior third baseman, hit .335 with a HCAC-best 71 RBI and 11 home runs
last spring.  Junior second baseman Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind./H.S.) and senior
pitcher Dylan Padgett (Kirkland, Ind./Clinton Central) also return after All-HCAC
selections a year ago.  Kimm  hit .372 at the plate with 11 doubles, seven home
runs, and 53 RBI, while Padgett posted an 8-1 record on the mound with 57 strikeouts
and a 3.29 ERA.

Franklin is predicted to finish third and make a strong push for a fourth HCAC
title.  The Grizzlies finished third in the standings a year ago with a 14-11 league
record, finishing the season 24-20 overall.  Franklin returns one All-HCAC
first-team member from last season's team.  Senior pitcher Chris Hoopingarner
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) led the FC rotation with a 7-5 record, posting
a 2.66 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 88 innings of work.

The 2014 baseball season opens on February 22.  The HCAC portion of the schedule
will begin on March 21 with the HCAC Tournament slated for May 8-10.
2014 HCAC Baseball Coaches Preseason Poll
Team                                     Points (first place votes)

1. Anderson                  88 (4)
2. Manchester                   87 (3)
3. Franklin                           81 (3)
4. Transylvania                  68
5. Rose-Hulman                61
6. Defiance                         51
7. Earlham                           38
8. Bluffton                          35
9. Hanover                          31
10. Mount St. Joseph      10


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