Over its first seven games of the season, the Hillsdale College baseball team had been averaging 3.42 runs per game, while coming out on the losing end of six of those games.
Saturday afternoon, the offense got back on track.
The Chargers piled up 18 runs over its last 11 innings played in Saturday's regional doubleheader with McKendree in Lebanon, Illinois, splitting a pair of games with the Bearcats. Hillsdale lost the opener 7-5 before coming back to win the nightcap 13-3.
The teams conclude their four-game weekend series starting at 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday afternoon.
McKendree shut the Chargers out through the first five innings of the first game, building a 2-0 lead. But Steven Ring homered in back-to-back at bats to get the offense rolling as the Chargers took a 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the seventh. But the Bearcats struck for three in the seventh and two in the eighth to pull out the victory.
Ring drove in a career-high five runs in the first game, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Junior Alex Walts was 2-for-4 with a run scored in the first game.
Game two saw more fireworks coming from Charger bats, this time from early in the game. Hillsdale scored at least two runs in four consecutive innings of game two to take a big early lead, plenty for starting pitcher Will Kruse, who earned his first victory of the season.
Kruse dealt six with eight strikeouts against just one walk. In his third year as a starter, Kruse's steikeout numbers have shot through the roof. In 15.1 innings pitched, he has 22 K's for the Chargers.
The offense stepped up, giving Kruse plenty of run support. Colin Boerst, Walts and Ethan Wiskur – the top three batters in the order – combined for five hits, eight RBI and five runs scored. Wiskur crushed two home runs, and Ring stayed red-hit with his third round-tripper of the day. Ring was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three runs scored.
Wiskur, the team's leading returning hitter, displayed the hitting form that made him an essential part of Hillsdale's record-breaking offense in 2016. He was 2-for-4 with 4 RBI and his first two home runs of the season.
Freshman Jake Rhodes gave great support to the win with two hits, while freshman Dante Toppi roped an RBI double during the win. Sophomore Colin Hites had a double during a 2-for-4 game for the Chargers.