The Hillsdale College baseball team played regular season games in the state of Michigan earlier in the year than ever before. May-like weather greeted the Chargers and future G-MAC opponent Alderson-Broaddus in the 2017 season openers for both teams Saturday night.
The Chargers and Battlers split their season-opening doubleheader, played at Adrian College. A-B won the first game 5-0, while Hillsdale bounced back to win game 2 8-4.
After getting shutout in game 1, it didn't take long for the Charger offense to get on track in game 2. Junior Ryan O'Hearn scored the team's first run of the season off a sac fly from junior Alex Walts. After getting blanked in the second, Hillsdale scored runs in each of its last four at bats, with the biggest burst coming in the fifth inning.
The Chargers scored four runs in the fifth to take a commanding 7-3 lead in the contest. Sophomore Chris Ackerman had the key hit, driving in Dylan Lottinville and Colin Boerst. The hits by Lottinville and Boerst each came with two outs, adding a clutch element to the team's big inning.
Several players made their collegiate debut Saturday for Hillsdale, including the aforementioned Lottinville, who was 2-for-3 in the game 2 win. Freshman Brendan Oosse figured prominently in the scoring, picking up a hit, a run scored and a run batted in.
Junior Phil Carey picked up the pitching win in relief of freshman Kolton Rominski, who also made his collegiate debut. Rominski was very effective in his 4.1 innings on the mound, yielding just one hit while striking out three matters.
In the opener, A-B pitcher Randy Dobnak was impressive, striking out 10 batters in six innings pitched. He allowed the Chargers three hits, and Hillsdale threatened to score in two innings.
In the fifth, Hillsdale had runners on second and third with no outs, and later loaded the bases, but Dobnak was able to work out of the jam.
Lottinville, Walts and Boerst accounted for the Hillsdale hits in game 1.
Starting pitcher Will Kruse was also effective in his five innings of work, racking up seven strikeouts against one walk, with three earned runs allowed.
ON THE CLOCK: Hillsdale and Alderson-Broaddus wrap up their four-game series with a doubleheader Sunday at Adrian College starting at 11 a.m.