ON A ROLL: Hanover College’s Ryan Johns (above, 4) awaits Kevin Sears (13) after Sears belted a two-run homer to left-center Friday to score Johns and give Hanover the lead for good in a 13-7 win over Rose-Hulman. Johns, the Hanover shortstop, backs up second baseman Zack Shultz (below) as Shultz tags out Rose Hulman’s Jordan Chipka on a steal attempt. The Panthers pounded out 18 hits — including two home runs — to win the first game of a three-game series with the Engineers. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
ON A ROLL: Hanover College’s Ryan Johns (above, 4) awaits Kevin Sears (13) after Sears belted a two-run homer to left-center Friday to score Johns and give Hanover the lead for good in a 13-7 win over Rose-Hulman. Johns, the Hanover shortstop, backs up second baseman Zack Shultz (below) as Shultz tags out Rose Hulman’s Jordan Chipka on a steal attempt. The Panthers pounded out 18 hits — including two home runs — to win the first game of a three-game series with the Engineers. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Hanover's increasingly potent offense unleashed an 18-hit attack on Rose Hulman Friday and that was more than enough for junior starting pitcher Mitch Hunnicutt in a 13-7 Panther win at the L.S. Ayres Athletic Complex.

The Panthers' bats have grown increasingly loud in the last week and the team is now hitting a combined .322 on the season with a .458 slugging percentage - the first almost 100 points higher than Hanover's opposition and the latter more than 100 higher.

All that adds up to Hanover's fifth straight win. The Panthers are now 13-8 on the season and 6-2 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Hunnicutt, of Seymour, scattered five hits through seven innings on Friday as the Panthers opened this weekend's three-game series with the Engineers on a winning note. The two teams play a doubleheader at the Ayres Complex today.

Hunnicutt allowed just one earned run while fanning four to improve to 4-1 on the mound this season. He exited after seven innings with the Panthers leading 13-3.

Hanover jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning but Rose answered in the top of the third on a rally ignited by a infield error that eventually produced three runs for a 3-2 Rose lead.

The Panthers quickly countered with a three-run third inning to regain the lead 5-3.

Kevin Sears, a senior center fielder from Noblesville, blasted a two-run homer to left-center to stake Hanover a 4-3 lead and, two batters later, Ryan Grau, a senior first baseman from Cincinnati, slapped a single into left field to up the lead to 5-3.

The Panthers then blew the game open with an eight-run fourth inning as Hanover sent 12 hitters to the plate during a nine-hit rally .

Matt Newman, a sophomore third baseman from Bloomington, belted a lead-off home run and added a two-run single later in his second time to the plate in the inning. Ryan Johns, a sophomore shortstop from Cincinnati, who had scored on Sears homer earlier, smacked two doubles in the inning, scoring a run and knocking in another.

Rose-Hulman managed four runs off the Hanover bullpen in the top of the eighth inning for the final margin.

Alex Lantz, a sophomore reliever from Indianapolis, worked the eighth for Hanover, allowing just two hits, but four unearned runs.

Rob Wohlschlaeger, a senior from Sheridan, retired the Engineers in order in the ninth to extend his scoreless streak to eight straight appearances spanning nine innings.

Sears, Johns and Nolan Hall, a sophomore catcher from Knightstown, had three hits each to lead Hanover's attack.

Sears, who is batting .399 on the season with a .522 slugging percentage, finished 3-for-4 with his first home run of the season, three RBIs and one run scored. Johns, who is batting .356 with a .575 slugging percentage, was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs. Hall was 3-for-4 with three singles, one run-batted-in and one scored.

Grau, Newman and left fielder Kolton Chapman, a junior from Lynnville who leads the team with a .443 batting average and .614 slugging percentage, added two hits each.

Rose-Hulman slipped to 7-13 overall and 4-3 in the Heartland Conference with the setback.

Today's HCAC twinbill with the Engineers begins at noon.