Tuesday’s split doubleheader against Walsh University proved to be a battle of the pitchers that left Hillsdale 5 – 5 in the G-MAC and 11 – 11 overall after the University of Findlay took two from the Chargers over the weekend.
“It’s been the same story all year,” head coach Abraham said. “We get runners on base and for the most part, we don’t get them in. It’s frustrating. We’re still waiting for some people to step up and hit when the chips are down.”
Strong pitching from the Cavaliers (17 – 13, 6 – 4 G-MAC) in game one proved to get the better of the Charger bats in an 11 – 0 loss for Hillsdale. Although freshman pitcher Natalie Walters held the Cavaliers back for the first three innings of the game, two Cavalier homers and two Charger fielding errors gave Walsh a 9-run lead in the top of the fourth. After Walsh extended its lead by two more runs, the game ended after the fifth inning.
Junior outfielder Katie Kish, junior second baseman Amanda Marra, and sophomore shortstop Sam Catron each went 1-for-2 in the effort, and the fourth and final of Hillsdale’s hits came from Walters.
Same as in the opener, game two remained scoreless for the first three innings through the efforts of freshman pitcher Erin Hunt, who allowed a single hit and struck out nine in seven innings of work. Although the Cavaliers threatened to score in the top of the third, Hunt worked her way out of a difficult situation to keep the game scoreless.
“They had the bases loaded, one out, and their hitter who had hit two home runs in the same inning the game before was up to bat,” sophomore shortstop Julia Huebner said. “That Erin struck her out was huge, and then she went on to strike out the next hitter.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Hillsdale bats made up for lost time, stringing together a series of hits and capitalizing on errors to bring around four runs in the 4 – 0 win. A single from Kish brought home senior third baseman Kelsey Gockman, sophomore outfielder Victoria Addis scored on a sacrifice fly from Marra, and a two-out single from sophomore Sydney San Juan scored Kish and freshman outfielder Sarah Wojcik.
“Losing the first game really lit a fire under us,” freshman catcher Madison Stoner said. “Going back into game two, we were just in such an intense mood that I don’t think we could’ve lost that game.”
Over the weekend, the Findlay Oilers (19 – 16, 9 – 1 G-MAC) won both games against Hillsdale. Hillsdale started game one strong thanks to a two-out, 2-RBI single from junior shortstop Jessica Taylor that scored Kish and Marra. Although Hillsdale outhit Findlay 8 – 7, the Oilers converted more hits into runs, resulting in a 5 – 2 loss for Hillsdale.
“Our pitching is mostly good, our defense is fairly solid, we do a great job of hitting when nobody’s on base,” Abraham said. “That only leaves one part, and that’s hitting with people on base, and we’re just not doing it.”
Game two was a similar story in which the Chargers sandwiched the Oilers’ six runs with two of their own in the first and seventh innings in the 6 – 2 loss. Kish went 3-for-4 in the effort and San Juan went 2-for-2, each with a run scored. Marra and Walters each went 1-for-4 with an RBI apiece.
Findlay also outhit Hillsdale 14 – 10 over the course of the game.
“We got 18 hits in the two games, so about 9 hits per game, which isn’t outstanding, but that’s pretty good,” Abraham said. “Typically, if you’re getting that many hits, you’re going to win games.”
This weekend, the Chargers will play two home doubleheaders: one against Davis and Elkins College (8 – 13-1, 3 – 4-1 G-MAC) Friday at 3:30 p.m. and one against Alderson Broaddus University (1 – 23, 0 – 6 G-MAC) Saturday at 1 p.m. for senior day.
“We came into this season really optimistic and looking for everything to go smoothly and we’ve had a few hurdles,” Huebner said. “But like our coaches say, it’s about that door being presented to you and choosing to push through adversity and not letting it control you. I think the fact that we beat Walsh at home and going into a couple more home games this weekend for senior day is really going to help us push through to the end of the season and get some more wins.”