by Alan Babbitt
Playing its fourth doubleheader in five days, the 20th-ranked Hope College baseball team split with Albion College in Friday's series finale at Boeve Stadium.
The Flying Dutchmen won the opener, 7-3, but lost the second game, 16-10.
Photo by Tom Renner
Hope (28-6 overall) now is 18-6 overall in MIAA play and trails first-place Adrian College by three games in the loss column. Adrian, which beat Trine University twice on Friday, is scheduled to conclude its series with the Thunder on Saturday at Trine.
The Flying Dutchmen face Adrian (26-6, 19-3 MIAA) in a four-game series next weekend that concludes the regular season.
In Game 1 against Albion, Mason Opple's first-inning grand slam powered the Flying Dutchmen to a 4-1 lead. The right fielder from Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) now has a career-high 42 runs batted in on the season.
Opple's 113 career runs batted in are fifth most in team history. He needs seven more to pass Mike VanBeek's Hope record of 119.
Albion (19-16, 14-10 MIAA) rallied to make the score 4-3 with a two-run second, but Hope designated hitter Nick Lepore of Clinton Township, Michigan (Warren DeLeSalle) answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run single.
Shortstop Brant Kym of Libertyville, Illinois (Illinois) added a RBI single in the sixth.
Catcher Trace Slancik of Scotts, Michigan (Vicksburg) went 4-for-4 with two runs scored.
Winning pitcher Max Gaishin (4-1) went the distance for the Flying Dutch. The lefthander from Stevensville, Michigan (Stevensville Lakeshore) struck out four while stranding eight base runners.
In Game 2, Hope held a 7-4 lead after five innings, but Albion erupted for an eight-run seventh and a fourth-run ninth.
Kym led the Flying Dutchmen offense by going 4-for-6 with three doubles and four runs batted in.
Seven Hope pitchers surrendered 16 hits to the Britons.