The Hope College baseball team dropped its opening game in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament 8-7 in 10 innings at Kalamazoo College on Wednesday.
The third-seeded Flying Dutchmen (24-17 overall) face an elimination game on Thursday at 3 p.m. against fourth-seeded Calvin College at Adrian College. Calvin lost at top-seeded Adrian 8-2 on Wednesday.
Hope rallied from a 3-0 deficit after two innings and a 4-2 deficit after seven innings.
The Flying Dutchmen batted around in the top of the eighth inning and plated four runs to take a 6-4 lead.
Second baseman Drew Lunsford of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Homestead) and shortstop Jordon Fairchild of Muskegon, Michigan (Oakridge) both scored when Kalamazoo misplayed a bunt single by sophomore leftfielder Nick Lepore from Clinton Township, Michigan (De La Salle).
Centerfielder Mason Opple of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) then knocked in Lepore with a single.
Three batters later, Opple came home when Kalamazoo threw away a grounder by third baseman Danny Carrasco of Grandville, Michigan (Calvin Christian).
Kalamazoo, however, answered with three runs in its half of the eighth.
With Hope down a run in the top of the ninth, Lepore doubled to left centerfield. A batter later, Opple scored Lepore on a RBI single to centerfield.
Lepore, who went 4 for 5 with a run scored, and Opple, who went 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs, were the heart of Hope's offense as they accounted for 6 of the 10 total hits on the day.
Sophomore designated hitter Tanner Gilmore of Murrieta, California (Alta Loma) hit a solo homer in the seventh to become the 11th different Hope player with at least seven home runs in a single season.
Hope did not record an out in the 10th. Ian Kobernick, the third batter of the inning, hit a game-winning walk-off single.