by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College baseball team mustered a large enough rally for one victorious comeback in the first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association doubleheader of the season, but not a second one the Flying Dutchmen wanted.
Hope (9-1 overall) split a doubleheader at home with Calvin College on Monday winning the opener, 15-9, at Boeve Stadium behind an eight-run sixth inning before dropping the nightcap, 8-3.
Photo of Hope's Nick Lepore by Lynne Powe
The two teams are scheduled to wrap up their four-game series on Tuesday, March 26 with a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Calvin College.
In the first game, rightfielder Mason Opple of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) capped Hope's decisive six-run rally with a two-run homer to right center.
The Flying Dutchmen capitalized on three walks from Calvin pitchers, two throwing errors, one hit batter, one balk and one wild pitch.
A two-run single from third baseman Joey Merucci of Northville Township, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central) tied the score at 9-9.
Opple went 2-for-5 for the game with three RBIs. Second baseman Jordon Fairchild of Muskegon, Michigan (Oakridge) went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs scored and two walks. Designated hitter Nick Lepore of Clinton Township, Michigan (Warren DeLaSalle) also finished two of Hope's 11 hits.
Reliever CJ Otteman of Zeeland, Michigan (Zeeland East) earned his second win after scattering four hits and one run of two innings of work.
In the nightcap, Calvin (5-6, 1-1 MIAA) never trailed after taking a 2-0 lead in the top of third on second baseman Ricky Padilla's two-run single.
Opple slugged a solo homer in the fourth — his second of the season.
Fairchild added a two-run homer in the seventh — his second of the season.
Calvin starter Trevor VanDuyn limited the Flying Dutchmen to seven hits over seven innings.
Hope pitchers combined to yield nine hits and walk four batters. They also hit four batters in the game and nine in the doubleheader.
"In the first game, we saved ourselves by scoring 15 runs. I'm pretty confident we'll swing the bats," Fritz said. "Trevor VanDuyn is a good pitcher. He held us in check, but we threw them too many runs. We didn't plays defensively We didn't pitch very well. We had glimpses, but not enough."