By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
Head Coach Eric Burkle and his team take on a Mountain East Conference (MEC) north division opponent in a four game series. The Hilltoppers were originally set to play this series at home, but the locations and times have been changed. As of April 3, the games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and on Sunday they are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The games have been moved to Wild Things Park in Washington, Pa.
As of April 1, the team is sporting a 9-10 overall record with a 7-5 record in conference games. The Falcons of Notre Dame are also having a less than average start to the season. They will be going into the weekend with a 6-19 overall record and a 4-8 record in conference games.
The Falcons won’t be taken lightly this upcoming weekend, as they are riding a three game winning streak after taking one from Glenville State College in extra innings and then sweeping West Virginia Wesleyan in a two game set this past weekend.
The Hilltoppers will have played three mid-week games before this weekend series, so their stats will be a little different but as of April 1, five Hilltoppers are batting over .300 with one of them batting an impressive .400 through the first 19 games of the season.
The long ball has played a huge role in the Toppers’ success, as they are averaging just under one home run per game with senior second basemen Vincent Haddox leading the way with six home runs.
Coach Burkle said, “We have let some games slip away late, but we are working on solutions to fix that so that later in the season, we will be winning those close games.” This year’s team is lead heavily by upperclassmen from the field to the pitching staff with guys like senior shortstop, Ethan Estes to senior pitcher, Justin Retzer. Two weeks ago, Retzer threw a complete game one hit shutout against West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Other guys to watch for this weekend include junior pitcher, Parker Dyson, a tall left-handed pitcher with a dominant fastball nearing 90 miles per hour and a nice repertoire of off-speed pitches. Dyson is currently sporting a 2.70 earned run average, which is the lowest on the team for any of the starters, and he has also struck out 37 batters in 30 innings pitched.
Coby Eckstein is also a junior to watch for in this weekend’s games, as he will be coming into the weekend batting .400 with five home runs and a team high of 21 runs batted in.
This upcoming weekend will be a big one for the Hilltoppers because they are currently second in the north division standings of the MEC. This will be the first weekend of the season with a four game series against the same team. Notre Dame currently sits in the number five spot of the north division, but the season is still early and the Falcons are going to be hungry and looking to turn their season around.
Game times are subject to change due to bad weather, but as of April 3, they are scheduled for 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at Wild Things Park in Washington, Pa.
Be sure to check out this weekend’s action on the hilltop, and follow the baseball team all season long on Twitter. Be sure to grab next week’s issue of the Trumpet for more game previews and player profiles.
Photo Credit: Cody Shook