by Alan Babbitt
Playing for the third time in four days, the Hope College baseball team called on two pitchers to to make their first starts of the season to open a series against Olivet College.
Freshman Shane Hykin and sophomore Matt VanDyken both delivered quality starts, and with the help of some timely hitting, the Flying Dutchmen continued their hot start with a 7-1 and 9-4 sweep on Thursday at Boeve Stadium.
The Flying Dutchmen raised their record to 13-1 overall and 5-1 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play.
"We get backed up in games and threw Hykin, who did an unbelievable job in Game 1. VanDyken, coming out of the pen in Game 2, struggled in the second but settled in and just gave us a chance to win," head coach Stu Fritz said. "Right now, the beautiful about it, is that our guys know we're going to score, it's just a matter of when. I cannot say enough about these 32 guys. They love each other and love the game. You see it on the field."
In Game 1, Hykin (1-0) yielded eight hits, including one solo home run allowed, over six innings of work in his fourth appearance of the season. The righthander struck out seven.
Hope supported Hykin with RBIs from four different players during the scheduled seven-inning game.
Leadoff hitter Jordan Fairchild hit his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the Flying Dutchmen's first at-bat.
A five-run second featured a two-run single from catcher Trace Slancik of Scotts, Michigan (Vicksburg), a RBI single from shortstop Brant Kym of Libertyville, Illinois (Libertyville) and a two-run double from first baseman Andrew Gilpin of Brighton, Michigan (Brighton).
Slancik, who shares the team RBI lead with right fielder Mason Opple, added a run-scoring double in the fifth.
In Game 2, Hope scored six times after the sixth inning of the scheduled nine-inning contest.
VanDyken settled in after allowing three runs in the second inning to scatter seven hits and four runs over 6 ⅔ innings. The lefthander did not factor in the decision but struck out six.
Dane Martin, Hope's second of three relievers, picked up the win after getting Hope out a seventh-inning jam. The freshman from New Baltimore, Michigan (L'Anse Creuse North) tossed 1 ⅓ scoreless innings to up his record to 1-0.
The Flying Dutchmen took a 5-4 lead on a two-run Kym single in the bottom of the seventh.
Hope tacked on three more runs in the eighth with a RBI single from Slancik, a two-run single from pinch-hitter Cal Barrett of Chelsea, Michigan (Chelsea) and a run-scoring single from Gilpin.
The Flying Dutchmen are scheduled to conclude their season with a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Olivet on Monday.