by Eva Dean Folkert
Through its first three innings against McDaniel College (Md.) on Monday, the Hope College baseball team produced the vast majority of its offensive output, clubbing 10 hits and scoring six runs. That fast, decisive start was needed. Flying Dutchmen bats got quieter for the next six innings with just one hit and two runs, but their damage was already done. Hope defeated McDaniel, 8-2, in Kissimmee, Florida.
Head coach Stu Fritz's Flying Dutchmen are now 4-0. The McDaniel Green Terror fell to 5-6.
"We always talk about it being a race to seven. Our goal is to get to seven runs first, and we've been really good about getting on the board early," Fritz said. "Jordon Fairchild has been doing an unbelievable job as the leadoff guy, setting the table for us. And we saw a good team today."
Starting pitcher Kameron Miller of Coldwater (Coldwater HS), pictured, was credited with the win, his first of the season. The sophomore allowed only five hits and two runs, while striking out three and walking two through the first six innings. Junior reliever Matt Van Dyken of Zeeland (Zeeland East) earned the save, holding the Green Terror scoreless while giving up just two hits.
"Kam just had a really good day on the bump for us. He located everything," Fritz added. "He got his offspeed (pitch) over early and his fastball went where we would like. Defensively, we were awfully good behind him as well. But he just threw with a lot of confidence. It was his first start as a sophomore and he had been waiting to get his opportunity. He really had great command all day long."
Four Hope players recorded two hits: Senior leftfielder Jonathan Sojka of Glen Elyn, Illinois (Glenbard West) with two singles; sophomore centerfielder Evan Maday of Grand Rapids (East Kentwood HS) and third baseman Joey Merucci of Northville Township (Catholic Central) with singles and doubles each; and, junior designated hitter Nick Lepore of Clinton Township (De La Salle HS) with a single and a triple.
Lepore and sophomore Brant Kym of Libertyville, Illinois (Libertyville HS) had two RBIs apiece.
Hope returns to action in Florida tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19, with a doubleheader against Thomas College (Me.). Start time is 10:00 a.m.