TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball team will put its two-game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings on the line with a trip to Franklin College on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The Fightin' Engineers have won nine consecutive HCAC games to move to 11-4 in conference play. Rose-Hulman leads Franklin, Earlham and Manchester by two games each in the league standings entering this week's action.
The Rose-Hulman offense features five players currently hitting above the .300 mark. David Burnside leads the team at .421 with 10 doubles and a team-high six home runs. Zach Trusk stands at .415 with 10 doubles and one home run, and Brian Thomas ranks third among the team's starting lineup at .352 with eight doubles and four home runs.
On the mound, Rose-Hulman has primarily used four starting pitchers this season. Luke Buehler (2-1, 3.82), Jonathan Banks (1-1, 5.08), Cody Sunderhaus (0-2, 5.10) and Ian Grant (2-2, 5.51) have combined to start 26 of the team's 28 games. Clayton Mayfield (3-2, 2.16, 1 save) has emerged as the closer, with significant relief help from Stone Brogan (2-0, 2.93) and Chuck Alexa (2-4, 6.52).
Franklin stands 17-11 overall and 9-6 in HCAC play entering Tuesday's matchup. Sam Claycamp leads the offense with a .413 average, 15 doubles and seven home runs. Mitch Schuman (.371, 3 2B), Jackson Freed (.337, 12 2B, 1 HR) and Nick Wright (.304, 8 2B, 5 HR) are all over .300, and Frank Podkul has added four home runs.
Pitching wise, Franklin's rotation has incldued Mitchell Caster (4-2, 2.70), Jordan Clark (4-0, 3.25, 3 saves), Jacob McMain (5-2, 4.53) and Aaron Leming (2-2, 5.02). Four pitchers have recorded saves, and Christian Sullivan (1-1, 1.59, 1 save) has the lowest earned run average in the Grlzzly bullpen.
Rose-Hulman won this year's earlier meeting 7-6 last Tuesday at Art Nehf Field, and the teams will meet again in Terre Haute on May 2. The Fightin' Engineers lead Franklin 16-13 since joining the HCAC in 2007 and have won three straight games in the series.
After Tuesday's contest, the Fightin' Engineers will host Defiance College in a single game on Friday and a Senior Day doubleheader on Saturday.