Playing (finally) in summer-like weather, the Charger baseball team picked up a key regional win Tuesday afternoon, defeating Northwood University 12-6 at Simpson Field. It was the final home game of the regular season for Hillsdale.
The Chargers are now 21-25 overall as they head into the final series of the regular season at Walsh this weekend.
Hillsdale played sharp, with good focus and energy both in the field and at the plate, The team produced good at bats, making solid contact while excelling in the field throughout the afternoon. Sophomore Jake Hoover at shortstop in particular, kept up his fine defensive play from throughout the season, thwarting a number of would-be Northwood hits and turning them into outs.
Hoover did his thing at the plate too, launching a bases-loaded triple to the deepest part of the ballpark in the second inning, helping Hillsdale climb out from an early 3-0 deficit. His hit bounced off the wall in dead center and scored three run, putting the Chargers on top 4-3. It was a lead they would never relinquish. Hoover was 2-for-5 with 3 RBI in the win.
Sophomore Dante Toppi found his groove offensively, hitting two home runs, both towering shots over the right field wall. He went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI and three runs scored, the finest game at the plate in his career.
Leadoff hitter Colin Hites scored three runs and was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. Junior Dylan Lottinville drove in runs with each of his two hits, and Ryan O'Hearn had an RBI double as part of a 2-for-4 day.
But with all the good things Hillsdale did at the plate, perhaps no performance was as long-term impactful as the one turned in by freshman starting pitcher Chris Dunn. He missed the 2017 season due to injury, and has slowly worked his way onto the mound as the season wore on. After a rough first inning where he surrendered two home runs and three runs, he settled down impressively, earning his first collegiate win by going five innings with four strikeouts and four runs allowed. He permitted just one run over his final four innings worked to a team that entered the game with a 30-14 record.
Dunn's growing skill, confidence and endurance - he threw 89 pitches in the win - could be a huge addition to the Charger arsenal of arms as they prep for the G-MAC Tournament.
For good measure, Walts also hit a home run while going 3-for-5 at the plate.