There was some late-inning drama in both ends of Friday's GLIAC baseball doubleheader between Hillsdale College and Saginaw Valley State University. But the end results couldn't have been better for the Chargers.
Hillsdale clawed back to the .500 mark in the GLIAC thanks to wins of 7-5 and 6-5 over the Cardinals at Simpson Field. The Chargers, winners of six in a row at home, are now 17-18 overall and 10-10 in conference play.
The opener was humming along at a brisk pace, with starting pitchers Jeff Burch (HC) and Amani Godfrey (SV) both doing a good job of working the strike zone and getting out of jams. But the Chargers broke through for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Sophomore Colin Hites, who had a terrific day at the plate and in the field, sliced a two-run single to right, driving home Ryan O'Hear and Dylin Lottinville. Steven Ring followed with an RBI single that turned out to be crucial.
SVSU responded with four runs in the top of the seventh to make Hillsdale's lead much slimmer. Colton Brooks hit a ground-rule double to right that held a baserunner at third base instead of having him score, which would have made the score 7-6. Dante Toppi was able to close out the game in the end.
Hites was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three runs batted in during the game one victory. Ring had a pair of hits, and Michael Mitchell came through in the clutch with two hits, a run scored and a run batted in. OHearn also scored twice.
Freshman Jeff Burch powered his way to the win on the mound, going six innings for the win.
Game two also saw Hillsdale jump out to the lead, thanks to the red-hot bat of senior Ethan Wiskur. He crushed a three-run home run to right, his fifth home run in the past five days, to put Hillsdale up 3-0 in the third inning.
Ring made it a 4-0 score with a solo home run, his team-leading 11th of the season.
Once again, SVSU came back late, scoring twice in the sixth and seventh innings and once more in the ninth. Freshman pitcher Josh Stella came in for his first career save to close out the game two win. Stella logged three innings and allowed two hits.
Freshman Andrew Verbrugge got the win on the mound, his third of the season. He struck out three in six innings of work.
Wiskur was intentionally walked three times on the day, and was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI in the enightcap. Hites, Colin Boerst and Ring each had two hits, and Ring scored a pair of runs.