Hillsdale College had five runs and Wayne State University trailed with four. With two outs, the Warriors had a runner on third base.
But freshman pitcher Shane Armstrong got the out and sealed the Charger’s first GLIAC victory of the season 5 – 4. The victory split Wednesday’s doubleheader against Wayne State, with the Chargers losing the first game 5 – 4.
The Chargers opened the first game with a 3 – 0 lead but Wayne State scored five runs in the third inning. The Warriors maintained that lead through the rest of the game, though senior catcher Chris Stephens batted a run in during the fourth.
The men need to avoid growing complacent with the runs they bat in, senior center fielder Pat O’Hearn said.
“We always need to keep our switch on attack mode or else they will come back and beat us,” he said.
Sophomore pitcher Colin Gerish pitched 3 1/3 innings, struck out two, gave up no runs, and allowed only one hit. Junior right fielder Mike Vanchieri, sophomore left fielder Adam Ladzinski, and senior outfielder Matt Blanchard all scored runs.
In the second game, the Chargers had only scored one run by the third inning.
“In the fourth, we put up three runs. [Freshman second baseman] Vinny Delicata had a big single,” O’Hearn said.
In the bottom of the seventh, Wayne State rallied for three runs. Armstrong’s third out pitched gave the Chargers the victory.
“Hopefully, it’s a turning point for the team,” said head coach Paul Noce. “But we’ve actually been playing very good baseball for the last five games especially. The mistakes we make just kill us.”
Stephens lead the team with two hits and a scored run, while freshman catcher Sean Bennett batted in two runs.
“They’re swinging the bat better. We’re getting some timely hitting,” Noce said.
Delicata said the men closed the second game better than the first one.
“We didn’t take any innings for granted,” he said.
The team opened the GLIAC conference by losing their first four games this weekend. On Saturday, the men lost 5 – 0 and 4 – 3 to Saginaw Valley State University. The Chargers were again met with defeat on Sunday, barely losing 6 – 5 and 3 – 2.
The Cardinals shut out the Chargers 5 – 0 in the first game. Vanchieri, Blanchard, and Breymaier had the only hits with one each.
Noce said that the men are learning to embrace the moments of pressure.
“We get pressure moments all of the time. Instead of being afraid, we need to rise up and embrace them,” he said.
Hillsdale narrowly lost in the second game 4 – 3 to SVSU, though the men tied the game three times. In the seventh inning, Stephens doubled to right center. Two strikeouts ended the game.
Lantis had three hits, while Stephens had two.
Hillsdale started the third game strongly, with three runs in the first inning. Vanchieri doubled to center field. Ladzinski and Blanchard both scored off of his hit. Vanchieri scored when Lantis singled to third base.
The Chargers lost the lead in the fifth inning when the Cardinals scored four runs off of a single hit. Hillsdale nearly tied the game in the seventh inning when scored on a balk and second baseman Scott Rhodes scored on Ladzinski’ groundout. But two strikeoutes ended their comeback with a 6 – 5 loss.
The final game went to eight innings, when the men lost 3 – 2. Senior pitcher Dan Rhodes went 4 1/3 innings with five strikeouts, allowing only two runs. Blanchard and sophomore first baseman Matt Pochmara had two hits each.
“We’ve learned that we need to always stay on attack mode,” O’Hearn said.
The Chargers spent their spring break on the field in Florida playing six games. On Saturday, the men split a doubleheader against Alderson-Broaddus College losing the first game 14 – 2 and winning the second 3 – 0.
In the first game, Blanchard scored after Vanchieri put in a run with a sacrifice fly out to centerfield. However, the Battlers picked up momentum in the following innings and Hillsdale only scored one other time.
Blanchard lead the team with three hits and one run batted in.
Hillsdale shut out Alderson-Broaddus in the second game of the doubleheader. In the second inning, Hillsdale scored three times while the Battlers were unable to score, largely due to junior Matt Reck’s perfect pitching through the fifth inning.
“He threw a great game. He had a no hitter into the sixth inning,” Noce said. “He’s one of our best pitchers.”
Hillsdale could not maintain their momentum and lost the next four games 8 – 2, 18 – 9, 5 – 4, and 11 – 1.
The men started the third game against Southeastern University — which they narrowly lost 5 – 4 — with three runs in the first inning. The Chargers maintained that lead until the bottom of the ninth when Southeastern batted in two runs.
“We’re focusing on wanting the last out,” Noce said. “The pitchers have to come in and throw strikes. They’ve been doing a pretty good job until that last inning,”
Pochmara had three hits and batted in two runs. Stephens had two hits while Ladzinski, Delicata, Vanchieri, and freshman catcher Sean Bennet had a hit each.
This weekend, the men will play a four-game, weekend set at Lake Erie College. On April 3, Hillsdale will host Grand Valley State University.