The Clarke University baseball team has made progress under first year coach Dan Spain. The Crusaders are 18-11 on the season and it is a program that has enjoyed only one winning season since 2003.

Spain says they haven’t met their expectations yet, but they are close. He says they have a good mix of guys and the key has been a pitching staff that sports an earned run averaged of 2.85.

 Spain says starting pitchers Andrew Redman, Zane Ridings and Jordan Hohensee set the tone for the team. “We’ve got three guys at the top of our rotation who are top 10 in the nation in a lot of categories,” Spain says.

He says they compete every day in practice and he says it doesn’t matter what game they play, whether it be shooting pool or baseball, they play hard and compete.

Spain says that competitive nature has translated into more offense as well. “They are gonna fight, go into deep counts, put the ball into play and try to come up with the big hit when they can and understand situations,” Spain says. He says they stress never taking a pitch off and not being and easy out.

The Crusaders are 5-3 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference. They return to action this weekend with a series at Mount Mercy.