News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rose-Hulman

March 28, 2012

Rose-Hulman’s jack-of-all-trades

TERRE HAUTE — Pop quiz.

What college baseball player is near the .500-mark as a leadoff batter, is the team’s closer and now a complete-game starting pitcher too?

If you answered Rose-Hulman sophomore Hank Akard, you may move to the head of the class.

After limited playing time as a freshman, Akard has been an offensive catalyst this season, leading off while patrolling center field with a .473 batting average.

Akard emerged as a closer in his freshman year at Rose, picking up four saves, and has three more this season.

Interestingly enough, Akard is already tied for No. 2 in career saves at Rose-Hulman.

This season alone, he’s passed Tim Watson, Brad Jones, Ben Stenger and tied Matt Salisbury (7 saves). Being only a sophomore, he is well in range of career leader Sam Deters (18 saves).

If that wasn’t enough, Rose coach Jeff Jenkins hinted last week Akard might be utilized as a starter too. On Sunday, all Akard did in his first collegiate start was be the winning, complete-game pitcher in Rose’s 3-1 victory — the only run was unearned — at Defiance.

Akard matriculated to the Engineers after being a No. 1 pitcher and a hard-hitting and solid defensive shortstop at Ben Davis High School.

By the numbers this season, Akard has 35 hits, showing a bit of power with 10 doubles and a pair of triples. Speed too. He has five stolen bases. As a hurler, he has allowed just one earned run in 20 innings, for a minuscule 0.45 earned run average.

In other words, he’s been a huge factor in Rose getting off to a 12-4 start, 3-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

“I’m a very aggressive hitter, which is kind of unusual for a leadoff role,” Akard stated. “I see a pitch and I like to hit. I don’t walk too often. I’m more of a contact kind of guy. Doubles guy and into the gaps. Not too many home runs.”

Akard admitted the word has gotten around of his prolific hitting, saying, “I’m starting to see a lot less fast balls. Lot more pitchers are starting to throw around me more, a lot of curve balls away. I’m just having to adjust, go the other way a lot more.”

When he made those previous comments, he’d been batting well over .500. It took a 1-for-12 series at Defiance to drop him to his current .473 average.

“Predicting I was going to put up plus-.500 numbers you can’t really assume you’re going to do that,” Akard also mentioned last week.

As for his mound duties, he’s willing to do what is needed for the team.

“Closer role is kind of different for me,” Akard noted. “I’ve been able to throw harder now that I’m in college, put some miles per hour on my fast ball, so it’s a lot easier to get guys out.”

“He’s 87, 88 [miles per hour] on the gun right now,” Jenkins stated. “He’s our hardest thrower by far. He just competes. You may get him once, but boy he’s going to get you the next two times. He just wants to win and he’ll do whatever it takes.”

Asked to describe himself as a pitcher, Akard replied, “I throw a lot of strikes. I’m not much of a strikeout kind of pitcher, but I get a lot of ground balls and pop flies. Keep the ball down.”

In his starting debut, he recorded 16 groundball outs with just four flyouts, an impressive 4:1 ratio.

How does he balance the responsibilities of hitting and pitching, in practice and during games?

“People ask me that a lot,” Akard smiled. “I spend a lot more time on hitting, because that’s my first role. But I throw all year long to keep my arm in shape. It’s a lot to think about and a lot to have on your plate. You just have to focus on both aspects.”

Jenkins nearly beams when extolling the virtues of Akard.

“He’s done it all,” Jenkins grinned. “He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s not very big, but he’s probably the strongest kid on the team pound-for-pound. He’s our fastest guy and he’s just relentless. He’s a baseball player. A Dustin Pedroia [Boston Red Sox standout], a grinder, just gives it all he has all the time.”

Jenkins likes to relate a story about Akard from earlier this season, during their annual Florida trip, that shows that competitive fire.

“In Florida he gave up a two-out, two-strike game-tying home run against Loras,” Jenkins recalled. “He’s our closer, mind you, never pitches more than an inning. He threw the next four innings of shutout ball. They never touched him.

“He threw five innings in 90-degree heat after he’s played outfield for eight innings. He played all 15 innings that game, never missed a beat. After he gave up that run, he came off [the field] and I said, ‘Are you good enough for another [inning]?’ He said, ‘I’m good for as long as you need me.’

“Then he came back and played nine innings in ball games the next two days. Just been phenomenal for us.”

While Akard was a standout shortstop at Ben Davis, he’s playing outfield out of necessity … and Jenkins couldn’t be more pleased.

“Hank probably could be one of the best shortstops or second basemen on the team, but we knew we lacked outfielders this year … and we lacked speed,” Jenkins said. “So we asked him to go [to outfield] this fall and the more reps he’s got, the better he’s gotten.”

Akard is keeping a level head despite his early outstanding play.

“Just have to stay humble,” Akard said. “It’s a real humbling game. I mean I can slump hitting and pitching at any time. I’ve just go to keep working hard.”

Oh yes, being at Rose, he’s a pretty good student too.

“Interested in design-type work,” Akard stated. “I want to go into architecture. Civil engineering at Rose is a good opportunity, a big reason I came here.”

• Rose-Hulman baseball team leader Hank Akard:

Batting

At bats — 74

Runs scored — 20

Hits — 35

Doubles — 10

Triples (tied) — 2

Total bases — 49

Stolen bases — 5

Batting avg. — .473

Pitching

Saves — 3

Earned run avg. — 0.45

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Rose-Hulman
  • Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left

    Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.

    April 22, 2014

  • SPT 040814 SCHULT DISCUS.jpg Rose-Hulman’s Schultheis brothers making mark in HCAC indoor, outdoor championships

    Four words you won’t hear used together during a Rose-Hulman track practice: “Schultheis, get over here.”
    If someone were to mistakenly make that request, three brothers from the same family might respond.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium

    The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

    April 4, 2014

  • Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings

    Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.

    April 2, 2014

  • Rose-Hulman baseball goes to 7-0 in HCAC

    Rose-Hulman improved to 7-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball action and won its ninth straight game with an 8-4 victory over Franklin on Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
    Rose battled back from deficits of 2-0 with two runs in the fourth and 4-2 with two more in the fifth to knot the score at 4-4. A three-run sixth inning and clutch pitching in the eighth secured the victory.

    April 1, 2014

  • Stout_action3.jpg Dedicated to helping others

    It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.

    March 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC

    Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.

    March 31, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rose's Stull, Schultheis earn HCAC honors

    Rose-Hulman took two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors this week, with Andrew Stull and Austin Schultheis recognized for their work over the weekend.

    March 24, 2014

  • Rose-Hulman's Orion Martin is All-America swimmer

    Rose-Hulman sophomore Orion Martin became the third All-America swimmer in Engineers history Thursday night, placing seventh in the men’s 100-yard butterfly in the NCAA Division III championships at the IUPUI Natatorium.

    March 20, 2014

  • SPT031914 ISUSB stone.jpg Metro sports: Alvarez helps ISU softball gain home sweep

    Junior Yvette Alvarez pitched a complete-game win in the opener and hit her first career home run in the second game to lead the Indiana State softball team to a doubleheader sweep in its home opener Wednesday at Price Field.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro sports: Strickland earns spot in national all-star game

    Rose-Hulman’s Julian Strickland will participate in the Reese’s® Division III College All-Star Game at the NCAA Division III Final Four this weekend.

    March 17, 2014

  • Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause

    Andrew Stull made a strong bid to stay in the Rose-Hulman baseball starting pitching rotation Friday evening, but his lack of support — offensively and defensively — still added up to a 7-0 loss as the Engineers opened the Rose-Hulman Invitational against Concordia Chicago.

    March 14, 2014

  • Metro Sports: ISU baseball’s winning streak halted at 12

    The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks scored on a walk-off single in the ninth inning to end Indiana State’s 12-game winning streak in baseball with a 3-2 victory Friday at Brooks Field.

    March 14, 2014

  • hong-ac.jpg Another Rose freshman making big splash

    The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.

    March 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again

    Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.

    March 10, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win

    A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.

    March 7, 2014

  • Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors

    Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.

    March 5, 2014

  • SPT 110913 STRICKLAND 3.jpg Rose’s Strickland named HCAC MVP again, Shaw wins Coach of the Year

    Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
    It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: Rose baseball loses 7-0 in Florida

    Mount Union University remained unbeaten this baseball season with a 7-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
    Mount Union improved to 5-0 when the game was called after eight innings due to significant rain.

    March 4, 2014

  • strickland.jpg Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener

    Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday

    Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.

    March 3, 2014

  • Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title

    For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.

    February 28, 2014

  • Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6

    Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.

    February 28, 2014

  • Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title

    Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.

    February 26, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant

    Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.

    February 26, 2014

  • jenkins1.jpg Rose coach still ‘hanging around’

    Approaching the start of his 25th season as Rose-Hulman’s baseball coach, Jeff Jenkins remembers some of his 601 victories, most of his teams’ highlights from five NCAA Division III tournament appearances and pretty much all of Art Nehf Field’s significant upgrades. He also can count on one hand how many times that umpires have tossed him from a game — two.

    February 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title

    Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.
    Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.

    February 22, 2014

  • Female Engineers climb into HCAC tourney with win at Mount St. Joseph

    Led by 16 points from senior Kelsey Ploof, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph 58-51 in its regular-season finale Saturday to clinch the final spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
    The Engineers (10-15, 8-10 HCAC) earned the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament and will face Franklin in the quarterfinals Friday at tournament host Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

    February 22, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title

    Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.

    February 19, 2014

  • SPT021214RHITMBB houpt.jpg Rose’s Alec Houpt hopes to make fifth Division III tournament appearance

    Is Alec Houpt the good-luck charm for Rose-Hulman athletics?
    Should his likeness appear on a box of Lucky Charms cereal?
    Houpt admits he’s not a star in any sport, yet he’s been a member of four teams that have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. They were men’s soccer as a sophomore (2011) and senior (2013) and men’s basketball as a sophomore (2011-12) and junior (2012-13).

    February 19, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Hong Kong Residents Help Create Green Roofs SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Raw: Royal Couple Tours Uluru in Australia
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity