The Hillsdale College Chargers entered last weekend’s series against the Bellarmine University Knights with momentum. After a tough, two-game series, however, the Chargers return home looking for answers in all areas of the game.
The two teams were originally scheduled to play four games at Knights Field. After Hillsdale lost Saturday’s games 12 – 2 and 16 – 6 to drop their record to 3 – 4, snow began to fall, and the two games originally scheduled for Sunday were canceled.
Junior Andrew Verbrugge took the hill for the Chargers in game one, but struggled to find his groove early. Verbrugge allowed five runs on eight hits in just a little over three innings as Bellarmine jumped out to an early lead. Through three starts, Verbrugge has yet to record a win, holding a 0 – 2 record with a 8.79 earned run average.
Hillsdale’s pitching staff struggled to tame the Knights’ offensive firepower all day. Junior Kolton Rominski also had troubles on the mound, giving up six runs and three home runs in just one inning. As a team, the Chargers allowed 17 hits in the first game, including six home runs.
Hillsdale was also stagnant offensively. The top of the lineup, which usually hits consistently well, failed to produce a run. Junior Jake Hoover and senior Steven Ring both failed to record a hit. Most of the Chargers offense came from junior Jacob DePillo, who homered in the third inning and singled in a run in the fifth.
Game two started on a stronger note, with Ring and senior Dylan Lottinville sparking Hillsdale’s offense for an early 2 – 0 lead.
Sophomore David Toth got the start for the Chargers but struggled to find the strike zone, allowing nine walks and four hits in five innings pitched. Even so, Hillsdale managed to stay in the game. After Bellarmine scored three in the bottom of the first, Hoover tripled in a run in the top of the second to tie the game at three.
The Knights retook the lead in the bottom of the second, but after a pair of RBI doubles from sophomore James Krick and junior Dante Toppi, the Chargers held a 5 – 4 lead.
After Toth allowed two more runs in the fifth, senior Colin Boerst, back from injury, singled in a run to tie the game at six going into the bottom of the sixth.
That’s when the wheels fell off for Hillsdale. Bellarmine took advantage of hit batters, a timely error, and two home runs to put ten runs across the plate, making the score 16 – 6 and putting the game out of reach. After the Chargers failed to score in the top of the seventh, the game was called.
Hillsdale has two series remaining before they begin G-MAC play against the University of Findlay in two weeks. The Chargers look to rebound this weekend with a four-game series against Davenport University in Sauget, Illinois. Hillsdale will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, with games at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. both days. On Tuesday, the Chargers play a doubleheader at Oakland City University.