February 21, 2013 - On the first day of the 2013 baseball season, Division II may already have one of its biggest upsets it will see anywhere.
Thanks to a gem of a collegiate debut by freshman pitcher Lucas Hamelink, and sterling relief work by sophomore Dan Pochmara, the Hillsdale College baseball team earned a 2-1 win over No. 3 ranked University of Tampa Thursday night in the second game of a doubleheader between the teams, in Florida.
Tampa won the opener 6-0. Hillsdale, 1-1 on the season, will play SUNY-Canton in a twinbill Saturday afternoon.
Hamelink, one of several promising freshmen on this year's roster, was simply brilliant in his first-ever start for the Chargers. He went five innings while allowing just four hits and three walks, and struck out five. The Hillsdale offense gave him two runs to work with right away in the top of the first inning.
Sophomore shortstop Nolan Breymaier smashed a single up the middle that scored freshmen Luke Ortel and Lincoln Reed, giving the Chargers the lead before Hamelink even took the mound. Hillsdale had three hits in that first inning, and even though it would only scratch out three more hits the rest of the game, it was enough for Hamelink and Pochmara.
As satisfying as Hamelink's debut was, the two relieef innings dealt by Pochmara meant just as much to Hillsdale. After a solid freshman season in 2011, Pochmara missed the entire 2012 season due to injury. The coaching staff envisioned Pochmara as the team's closer entering the season, and his two innings of work, allowing just a walk and a hit, should give the team confidence that it has a quality closer in Pochmara.
Pochmara allowed a one-out single in the bottomn of the seventh inning, but responded with a three-pitch strikeout to the Spartans' cleanup hitter, setting the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the history of Charger baseball.
Ortel finished 2-for-3 with a run scored, and freshman Zak Northrup also had a hit for Hillsdale.
Game one saw a good start put in by senior pitcher Kris Morris, who allowed just two runs in four innings before Tampa's offense got rolling. Reed had two hits in his collegiate debut, while senior captain Scott Lantis added two hits for Hillsdale in the first game.