It was a classic postseason baseball game. One-run differential. Some great pitching performances. Big-time plays by the defense. And in the end, it was Hillsdale College's baseball team once again moving on.
The Chargers scratched out a first-inning run that turned out to be enough for pitchers Will Kruse and Kolton Rominski as Hillsdale beat Walsh 1-0 in a second-round, winner's bracket matchup in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament.
Hillsdale, 24-27 on the season, now moves on to Friday's action, taking on the winner of the Malone-Kentucky Wesleyan at noon.
There were a total of eight hits between these teams, five of them from the Cavaliers. Hillsdale had just three hits, but it made them count in the first inning.
Sophomore Jake Hoover blasted a triple to center field with one out in the first. Two batters later, Dylan Lottinville brought him home with a double to left to account for the game's only run. Both Hoover and Lottinville have been picking up big hits lately, not just in quantity, but in terms of good timing as well.
That was all the offense Kruse needed. He was dialed in, hitting his spots effectively throughout his seven-inning start. He struck out eight batters and allowed just three hits, the fewest he's allowed in a start all season. He improved to 6-3 with the win on the season.
Rominski picked up the six-out save, giving up just two hits with no walks and a strikeout in earning his first save of the season.
One thing both Kruse and Rominski did was pitch effectively out of trouble. Walsh stranded 10 runners on base, and even though the Chargers committed four errors, none of them resulted in runs. The Hillsdale defense turned two double plays, one induced by Rominski to end an eighth inning threat.
Kruse threw 77 strikes out of his 119 total pitches, while Rominski had a 17-to-9 strike-to-ball ratio among his 26 total pitches,
Sophomore Dante Toppi picked up the team's other hit in the win.