by Alan Babbitt
On another high-scoring day, two pitching performances stood out for the Hope College baseball team in a Tuesday sweep at Calvin College.
First, Game 1 starter Max Gaishin, pictured at left, tossed a complete-game four-hitter in a 14-1, seven-inning victory.
Dylan Berghorst, pictured at right, then came in from the bullpen cold in Game 2 to relieve an ailing starter. He did not factor in the final decision but held the Knights in check long enough for the Flying Dutchmen to rally for a 12-7, nine-inning victory.
Hope (11-1 overall) took the opening Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association series, three games to one. The Flying Dutchen recorded double-digit runs three times against Calvin (5-8).
"Our dugout was electric today," head coach Stu Fritz said. "We talk about needing 32 guys. We are fortunate we have so many guys. It's a pretty selfless group."
The Flying Dutchmen completed the sweep with a six-run top of the ninth in Game 2.
After Calvin walked the first three batters to load the bases, Hope seized the lead.
Center fielder Evan Maday of Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Kentwood HS) drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk. The next batter, right fielder Mason Opple of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville), collected a RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Shortstop Brant Kym of Libertyville, Illinois (Libertyville) then smacked a one-out, two-run single to right-center. One batter later, first baseman Ted Eppinga of Saline, Michigan (Saline) cappe the rally with a two-run single to right center.
Reliever CJ Otteman of Zeeland, Michigan (Zeeland East) allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth, but retired three of the batters he faced to close out Calvin. Otteman is now 3-0 on the season.
The comeback might not have happened without 5 ⅔ innings of three-run relief from Berghorst. The freshman from Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) relieved starter Keaton Hamilton of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville), who was held out for precautionary reasons after yielding three runs in the first.
Berghorst did not have a chance to get loose in the bullpen and warmed up on the mound. He pitched until Sam Balke of Newaygo, Michigan (Forest Hills Northern) relieved him in the bottom of the seventh and stranded two Calvin runners.
By the, Hope had cut Calvin's lead to 6-5 with a four-run sixth that included a two-run homer from Eppinga — his second home run of the season.
The Flying Dutchmen tied the score at 6-6 on Opple's eighth-inning RBI double.
Game 1 wasn't as close. Hope never trailed after grabbing a 4-0 lead in its first at-bat.
Gaishin (2-0) didn't need any more run support. The sophomore from Stevensville, Michigan (Lakeshore) scattered four hits, three walks and two hit batters over seven innings of work. He struck out four.
Maday and Opple led Hope's 14-hit attack.
Maday went 4-for-4 with two doubles, one walk and three runs scored.
Opple went 3-for-4 with a double and a team-leading four RBIs.
Second baseman Jordon Fairchild of Muskegon, Michigan (Oakridge) added a two-run homer — his third of the season.
Hope's next games are Thursday, March 28 at Boeve Stadium against Olivet College. The MIAA doubleheader begins at 2 p.m.