After another HCAC doubleheader sweep, the Ravens have sole possession of second place in the conference, with a 9-1 record through 10 games. Anderson pounded Transylvania, scoring 29 runs in the two games. John Becker picked up the win in the 13-3 game one drubbing. Joe Moran received the win in game two after the Ravens scored 15 unanswered runs from the sixth inning on.
Franklin sits atop the standings with an 11-1 record in conference play.
A showdown with Franklin looms on May 1 at Don Brandon Field. Every other team in conference has suffered at least five losses. The May 1 doubleheader will likely determine the top seed and host of the HCAC tournament.
AU was projected to finish seventh in the HCAC this year, and they have already done a great deal of shattering expectations. While the Ravens have surpassed the low expectations the rest of the conference saddled on them, they are not satisfied yet, and remain in hot pursuit of the top spot in the conference.
“We just need to continue what we’ve been doing all year long,” said shortstop Nick Butcher. “As long as we keep throwing strikes, hitting the ball hard, and defending, there’s nobody we can’t beat.”
Becker echoed Butcher’s statements on the Ravens’ aspirations.
“The biggest thing is just to stay locked in,” he said. “We have to keep showing up every day with a great menality and ready to work.
“The one goal we have is to be able to dogpile on the Don. If we continue to play with the intensity and focus we have so far, then there is no reason we shouldn’t complete that goal.”
Only Franklin has scored more than the Ravens’ 100 runs in conference. Both the Ravens and the Grizzlies have conceded 45 runs.
The wins have been the result of both a balanced lineup and rotation.
Six Ravens are hitting in the .300s, while three are in the .400 club. Butcher carries a team high .428 batting average while Nick Jones is batting .415. The injured Branton Sanders is hitting .415 and drove in 21 runs in only 15 games played.
A deep rotation has gotten contributions across the board. Andrew Rolfsen, Nick Jones, Moran, Casey Howell, Clayton White, Zachary Lane and Becker are a combined 18-7 on the season. Their record is an even more impressive 9-1 in the HCAC.
Four series stand between the Ravens and their goal of becoming conference champions. The Franklin series will obviously be very difficult, but the Bluffton games tonight and the Earlham and Rose-Hulman games won’t exactly be pushovers.
If the Ravens handle business, they can wrap up their season with the dogpile on Don Brandon Field.
Regardless of what happens over the next eight-plus games, the season has been a great deal of fun, for spectators and the team alike.
“It’s been a blast going out there and competing everyday with this group of guys,” Butcher said. “I attribute most of this team’s success to the camaraderie we have built throughout this year.
“Us seniors couldn’t have asked for anything better.”