The Hillsdale College Chargers’ road struggles continued this week in Tiffin, Ohio, where they lost the final three games in a four-game series against the Tiffin University Dragons. Since winning their first three road contests of the season, the Chargers are 2 – 10 away from home.
Originally a four-game series scheduled for doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, the Chargers and Dragons played doubleheaders on Monday and Tuesday because of rainy weather during the weekend.
Monday, April 1 (Game 1): Hillsdale 5, Tiffin 4
Hillsdale won the first game on Monday, edging Tiffin 5 – 4. Senior catcher Steven Ring hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to get the Chargers on the board. Ring finished the game 3 for 4 and reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances.
The game was tied at four heading into the ninth inning, but Ring started a rally with a leadoff single. Senior third baseman Colin Boerst drew a walk, and two batters later, senior left fielder Michael Mitchell reached base on an error, pushing the go-ahead run across the plate.
Sophomore pitcher James Krick worked around a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth to seal the one-run win for the Chargers.
Monday, April 1 (Game 2): Tiffin 5, Hillsdale 1
The remainder of the series wasn’t as kind to Hillsdale. In game two on Monday, the Chargers totaled only four hits total, and fell quitely, 5 – 1.
Senior pitcher Jonathan Lapshan pitched a seven-inning complete game, but a four-run sixth inning for Tiffin broke a 1 – 1 tie. Only one of the five runs Lapshan allowed was earned. A pair of errors in the field complicated the four-run sixth the Chargers allowed.
Tuesday, April 2 (Game 1): Tiffin 19, Hillsdale 7
On Tuesday, both Tiffin and Hillsdale got more comfortable in the batters’ box, but the Chargers were once again on the wrong end of a pair lopsided, high-scoring affairs.
The Dragons pushed 19 runs across the plate in game one on Tuesday, and routed Hillsdale 19 – 7.
The Chargers got out to a 3 – 0 lead in the top of the second inning on sophomore left fielder Will Smith’s first home run of the season, a three-run shot.
But starting pitcher senior Joe Hamrick was tagged for five runs in the bottom of the third inning, and freshman and junior pitchers Dillion Manion and Josh Stella allowed 12 runs in the next 2/3 innings of relief.
Ring added a two-run homer in the top of the fifth, but by then, the Dragons already led by double digits.
Tuesday, April 2 (Game 2): Tiffin 7, Hillsdale 5
In the final game of the series, Tiffin posted four runs in the bottom of the second inning, building a lead the Chargers couldn’t surmount.
Hillsdale answered with three runs in the third inning, on Ring’s three-run home run, his third home run in four games.
Tiffin extended its lead to 7 – 3 by the eighth inning, when junior pinch hitter Jake Rhodes hit a two-run home run off the bench to cut the deficit to 7 – 5. Hillsdale couldn’t complete the comeback, however, and ended the series on a three-game losing streak.
Wednesday, April 3: Hillsdale 14, Grand Valley 8
The Chargers found better luck at home on Wednesday, defeating non-conference Grand Valley State University, 14 – 8.
Senior center fielder Christian Rodino capped a four-run first inning with a three-run home run. Grand Valley fought back to tie the game at five in the top of the fifth inning, but an eight-run bottom of the seventh for Hillsdale tipped the scales.
Ring continued his tear at the plate with a grand slam in the inning, his fourth home run in five games. Sophomore pitcher David Toth pitched three scoreless innings in relief to earn the win.
The Chargers (9 – 17, 5 – 7) travel to Painesville, Ohio, this weekend for a four-game series against the Lake Erie College Storm (11 – 14, 5 – 7 G-MAC). The two teams will play doubleheaders at 1 and 3:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
On Tuesday, the Chargers travel to Saginaw Valley State University for a single game at 3:05 p.m.