Baseball Team Ranked No. 29 Nationally by ABCA



TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball team has been ranked 29th nationally in the weekly top 30 NCAA Division III baseball poll released by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

Rose-Hulman stands 12-4 on the season and tied for first in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings at 3-0 in league play.  The Fightin' Engineers have also won nine of their last 10 games entering this week's three-game home conference series against Bluffton.

Rose-Hulman has compiled a .321 batting average as a team with 38 doubles and eight home runs this season.  Sophomore Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) leads the offense at .473 with 35 hits, 20 runs scored and 10 doubles.  Junior Donald Stopka (Grayslake, Ill./Carmel Catholic) has contributed a .361 average with five doubles and one home run.

Sophomore Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii) ranks third among starters with a .333 batting average and leads the squad with two home runs.  Senior Will Burchett (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) and junior Matthew Turk (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) are also above the .300 mark at .310 and .308, respectively.

Rose-Hulman's pitching staff compiled a 0.72 earned run average during the team's three-game sweep at Defiance last weekend.  The Fightin' Engineers also rank among the national leaders with 32 doubles play turned defensively in 16 games, and the team currently holds a 4.20 team earned run average.

Senior Jim Bob Schuler (Salem/North Harrison) leads the staff a 4-1 record.  Junior Ethan Post (Rockford, Mich.) stands 2-0 with a 4.56 earned run average, and Akard has a 1-0 record, three saves, and a 0.45 earned run average in 20 innings of work. 

Rose-Hulman is one of three Indiana teams ranked nationally this week.  Other nationally ranked squads include DePauw at No. 18 and HCAC foe Franklin at No. 30.

Rose-Hulman returns to action with a three-game series against Bluffton University (7-10, 1-2 HCAC) this weekend.  The series begins with a 6 p.m. game on Friday, then a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday.