Jessica Taylor takes batting practice. Julia Mullins | Col­legian

The Hillsdale Chargers began their fall season on Sunday and dropped two games against Division I Bowling Green State Uni­versity. 

In game one, the Chargers held the Falcons two runs in a 2 – 1 loss. The second game got away, as the Chargers fell 12 – 1.

Despite the losses, head coach Kyle Gross said he was glad he got to see the team play in real games. 

“I was impressed with the team at first,” Gross said. “Our pitching was the best it’s been this fall.” 

Junior pitcher Dana Wei­dinger started the first game and gave up a single home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore pitcher Natalie Walters came in for relief during the bottom of the fifth, allowing two hits and one run. 

Senior out­fielder Katie Kish led off the first game with a single, recording one of just three hits for the Chargers during the game. Senior second baseman Amanda Marra hit a single, and senior infielder Jessica Taylor hit a double, both during the top of the fourth inning. 

“As a team, we hope to improve offen­sively in each of our indi­vidual at-bats,” Kish said. 

Gross said the team will be working on hitting throughout practice leading up to their games in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 29. 

“I hope we’re gonna be a little more aggressive,” Gross said. “We were a little appre­hensive this weekend, there were def­i­nitely some nerves, so that’s an area coming from this first weekend with Bowling Green and going into next weekend where I hope to see our biggest improvement.” 

In game two, the Chargers recorded just two hits, one by sophomore out­fielder Natalie Stepa­nenko and the other by junior catcher Syd San Juan. They scored just one run during the bottom of the second inning. 

Gross said the biggest dif­ference between game one and game two was the exe­cution of pitches. 

“Through the first three innings of the second game, we were still exe­cuting pitches, and then it got a little tough from there,” Gross said. “Credit to Bowling Green hitters, they hit good pitches in the second game.” 

Over­coming the chal­lenges of game two, Gross said he was excited about the success of imple­menting new defensive plays during both games. The Chargers com­mitted just two errors over the weekend. 

“It was great seeing their reaction when the new plays worked, specif­i­cally pitchers being our cut to home plate, because it’s been new to them in practice,” Gross said. “When a team can get excited about just getting a cut, that’s pretty good.” 

Gross also said he was impressed by the catchers’ per­for­mances over the weekend. 

“Our catchers com­bined to throw out two of three base stealers and their work behind the plate was to the standard of what I will expect from them this season,” Gross said. 

Freshman pitcher Camryn Olson made her col­le­giate pitching debut during the second game, coming in for relief of red­shirt freshman pitcher Julia Sayles. 

“I was nervous, obvi­ously,” Olson said, “but having a sup­portive and tal­ented team behind me made me feel better about that.” 

Sophomore infielder Madison Rathbun said she felt con­fident about the team’s per­for­mance over the weekend. 

“For at least 10 of the 14 innings we played, we were right there, and the first game could have just as easily been ours,” Rathbun said. “We have a lot to learn yet, and there were many sit­u­a­tions this weekend which were new and edu­ca­tional for us.”

Junior infielder Erin Gordon said she thought the team played well for their first fall games, espe­cially in adjusting to having eight new freshmen and a new head coach. 

“I was very proud of the freshmen for embracing the oppor­tu­nities they had, and it was cool to see upper­classmen getting back into the swing of things,” Gordon said.

The Chargers will play three games in Columbus at Ohio State Uni­versity and said they are hoping to carry their pos­itive energy into next weekend. 

“Getting to know each other on the field is big,” Rathbun said, “so I’m just excited to get back in that jersey and compete next weekend.”