by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College baseball team opened the 2019 season in grand fashion Friday by firing the eighth no-hitter in team history.
The Flying Dutchmen recorded an 11-0 victory in seven innings against Clarkson University (N.Y.) in Auburndale, Florida.
Starting pitcher Sean Hoey (West Ottawa HS) combined with relievers Matt VanDyken (Zeeland East) and Max Gaishin (Stevensville-Lakeshore) to no-hit a Clarkson team that scored 13 runs in its first game on Friday.
A righthander, Hoey threw 79 pitches over 5 2/3 innings before exiting due to a pre-determined pitch count. He struck out nine and walked three.
"Sean was on his game. He was pretty dominant," head coach Stu Fritz said. "He established his fastball early and mixed in his curveball and split-finger. He kept them off-balance. He just got to his pitch count, and we had to take him out.
VanDyken recorded the final out of the sixth inning. Gaishin retired three of the four batters he faced in the seventh.
The Flying Dutchmen supported Hoey with 12 hits, beginning with second baseman Jordon Fairchild's double to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The senior from Muskegon, Michigan (Oakridge) moved to third on a balk and scored one batter later on a single by catcher Trace Slancik of Scott, Michigan (Vicksburg). Hope lead 2-0 after the first.
Hope broke open the game with a six-run fifth that put the Flying Dutchmen ahead 9-0.
Each of Hope's first six batters recorded at least one hit. Five of them scored at least once.
"It just snowballed for us after Jordon led off the game, Fritz said. "Our good players had really good days. It was fun to watch our younger guys play well. It was a good team effort."
Hope's next games are a non-league doubleheader on Saturday, March 16 in Winter Haven, Florida. First pitch is 9:30 a.m.