Shane Hykin Tosses Complete-Game Shutout, Baseball Takes Two From Kalamazoo

Shane Hykin delivers a pitch to the plate by Alan Babbitt

Making his collegiate second start, freshman Shane Hykin pitched like a wily veteran again for the Hope College baseball team.

The right-hander from Ada, Michigan (Forest Hills Northern HS) tossed a complete-game shutout in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Kalamazoo College on Friday at Boeve Stadium.

Photo of Shane Hykin by Michael Wilson

Hope won, 8-0, then defeated the Hornets, 15-5, to complete the sweep in the series opener. The Flying Dutchmen extended their best start in school history to 17-1 overall and a first-place 9-1 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play.

"He went out there and did his job," head coach Stu Fritz said. "He threw strikes and kept them off-balance. He didn't give away free bases. He's throwing very confidently right now."

Hope plays at Kalamazoo (4-11, 2-4 MIAA) on Saturday, April 6 for a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

Hykin (2-0) scattered four hits and two walks over seven innings. He struck out four. Kalamazoo did not advance a runner past second base. 

Hykin lowered his earned run average to 1.69.

The Flying Dutchmen supported Hykin with eight hits, including a two-run double from center fielder Evan Maday of Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Kentwood) in the third to break a scoreless tie.

Hope entered the day with NCAA Division III's ninth-highest team batting average at .343.

First baseman Ted Eppinga of Saline, Michigan (Saline) blasted a three-run homer in the fourth inning. It was his third home run of the season.

Third baseman Joey Merucci of Northville Township, Michigan (Detroit Catholic Central) knocked in a run with a sixth-inning fielder's choice. One batter later, left fielder Jack Sojka of Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Glenbard West) blasted his first home run of the season — a two-run blast to left.

In Game 2, shortstop Brant Kym of Libertyville, Illinois (Libertyville) and second baseman Jordon Fairchild of Muskegon, Michigan (Oakridge) helped power Hope's 10-hit attack.

Kym put the Flying Dutchmen ahead, 1-0, in the first inning with a two-out RBI single.

Hope built a 6-0 lead after three innings of the scheduled nine-inning game. Fairchild's team-leading sixth home run of the season was a two-run shot to right.

In the fourth, Kym started a four-run rally to answer Kalamazoo's four-run top half of the inning with a two-run double.

Kym finished 4-for-4 with three runs batted in and two runs scored.

Merucci added two hits, including a two-run double.

Winning pitcher Sam Balke of Newaygo, Michigan (Forest Hills Central) tossed 5 ⅓ innings of one-run relief. Balke (2-0) struck out two while yielding six hits and three walks.

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