The highest-scoring home game in Hillsdale College baseball history ended in the best way possible for the Chargers.
Sophomore Colin Boerst put an exclamation point on an incredible game with a walk-off two-run home run to lift the team to a 19-17 victory over Saginaw Valley State in the second half of a marathon doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Simpson Field.
The Cardinals won the opener 14-8. After the split, Hillsdale stands at 18-19 overall and 11-11 in the GLIAC. The Chargers won three of four in the weekend series.
Call it a moonshot, a bomb, whatever you prefer, but Boerst's walk-off home run ball soared far over the left field fence, sparking a wild celebration of water-dousing by his teammates after the end. The hit ended what was already a career day for Boerst, who went 4-for-7 with three home runs, five runs scored and eight runs batted in.
The ninth inning rally got started by junior Ryan O'Hearn, who legged out an infield single, then sprinted for second base when the ball got loose behind first base. O'Hearn also had the finest offensive day of his career, going 4-for-4 with four runs scored. He also stole two bases, and his speed made a huge difference throughout the contest.
Both pitching staffs were depleted due to the GLIAC scheduling teams to play Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week. Add that to a strong wind blowing straight out to center field all day, you have the formula of a doubleheader that featured 58 total runs scored by the two teams.
Game two featured 39 hits by the two teams, including a season-high 21 by the Chargers. Seven players had multi-hit games for Hillsdale, and the team was kept off the scoreboard in just two of the nine innings.
The biggest of those innings was the fourth, when Hillsdale scored 10 times to take a 12-3 lead. Boerst hit a three-run home run to get it all started, and later, Dylan Lottinville crushed a three-run home run of his own to keep the rally going. Lottinville finished the game 3-for-4 with 4 RBI, his third game of four or more runs batted in over the past seven days.
However, the Cardinals also took advantage of the conditions and used the long ball to get right back into the game. SVSU scored six runs in back-to-back innings to tie the game up at 15.
With available pitching arms at a premium, both teams used normal starters as relievers late in the ballgame. The Chargers brought in junior Will Kruse, the staff ace, to try to close the game out in the ninth. But SVSU rose to the occasion and scored two runs to tie it up once again at 17. But Kruse got out of the inning stranding the go-ahead runner on base after the Chargers turned a double play to end the inning, when SVSU tried to advance an extra base on the inning's final play.
Kruse ended up with the win, his sixth of the season.
In the opener, sophomore Colin Hites was 3-for-3 with a run scored with a double. Ring and Lottinville each hit home runs, and Boerst was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and three runs batted in.