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SLIAC Game of the Week: Spalding at Westminster

SLIAC Game of the Week: Spalding at Westminster

 

At a Glance

It is a battle between first-place teams when Westminster College faces Spalding University in a conference doubleheader on Saturday in the SLIAC Game of the Week. Spalding is currently in first place in the East Division with an 8-0 record while Westminster has moved into first in the West Division with a 6-2 mark. The two teams will take the field in Fulton, Mo. on Saturday, April 14 with first pitch at 1 p.m.

     
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Spalding University 'GOLDEN EAGLES'

Spalding enters the week on an 11 game winning streak and will host Thomas More on Wednesday before coming up to face Westminster this weekend. The Golden Eagles are 21-3 overall, a perfect 8-0 in the SLIAC, and are ranked #16 in the nation.

The Golden Eagles sit atop nearly every offensive category in the conference including batting average (.336), runs (214), home runs (20), walks (116), and stolen bases (49). That offense is sparked by Garrett Wilson, who is hitting .456 while swiping 24 bases as the leadoff hitter. Joe Hatcher leads the team with 29 runs batted in while Clay Kelly (26), Dillon Sievert (26), and Matt Harper (24) have all also topped 20 RBI this spring. Eric Meyer is second on the team with a .429 average and joins Wilson and Kelly (.409) in hitting over .400 on the year. 

Jimi Keating is the ace of the staff and has compiled a 7-0 record this season with a 1.96 earned-run average and 82 strikeouts in 59 innings. Behind Keating, the Golden Eagles have Hayden Davenport and Jack Parisi. Davenport has picked up four wins and holds a 3.58 E.R.A. while Parisi is 3-1 with a 3.78 E.R.A.

        

Westminster College 'BLUE JAYS'

Westminster is currently 11-8 overall and 6-2 in the conference. They have won five straight and will face Greenville in a cross-divisional doubleheader this week before hosting Spalding. 

The Blue Jays are hitting .300 as a team, 3rd best in the league, and average 6.8 runs per game this season. They have popped 15 home runs, 2nd most in the SLIAC, and stolen 35 bases. Their pitching staff holds a 4.79 earned-run average with opponents hitting .281 off them. 

Nick Bohlmann leads the team with a .432 average, driving in 10 and stealing seven bases. Ryan Clavin provides the punch, hitting .324 with team highs in both home runs (4) and runs batted in (25). Ryan Klimkiewicz has also knocked out four home runs this spring. Zach Eisenreich, hitting .323, can be dangerous on the bases with a team-high nine stolen bases. Ian Cassidy has worked 40 innings while striking out 36 and picked up four of the teams wins. Alex Dickneite is the only other starter with significant prior experience, working 33 innings this year. The teams next four pitchers in terms of innings are all freshman. 

 

Last Time They Met
Spalding took both games off a regular season doubleheader last March, winning game one 6-0 and game two 4-3. Spalding held Westminster to just four hits in the first game behind Jimi Keating's 10 strikeout game. The first three hitters for Spalding picked up a combined seven hits in the contest and drove in four runs. The second game saw Spalding plate three runs in the bottom of the ninth for the win, capped by a walk-off single from Dillon Sievert.

Game Notes

  • Spalding leads the all-time series against Westminster 15-9 including sweeping last year's series in the regular season.
  • Westminster has made the SLIAC Tournament 16 times, the second most appearances in conference history, including in each of the last three seasons.
  • Spalding's Jimi Keating led NCAA Division III in both wins and strikeouts last season and is once again atop the leaderboard this year.
  • Westminster starts the week with the second longest active winning streak in the conference at five games.
  • Garrett Wilson already has more hits (47) this season than he did at-bats (34) last year.
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