RICHMOND, Indiana – The Wilmington College baseball team dropped both games of a season-opening doubleheader at Earlham College on Saturday, falling 6-3 in game one and 14-7 in game two. Both games were played at Sadler Stadium.
In game one, Earlham's Walter Talcott earned the win striking out nine batters and allowing three hits in eight innings of work. Joey Hollback took the loss for Wilmington despite striking out seven batters in 4.2 innings pitched. The Salem, Ohio, native allowed five runs, but three earned runs as he fought through three Wilmington errors.
"Joey [Hollback] threw a lot of pitchers, so we got him out of there given it's cold and at the beginning of the season," Head Baseball Coach Dan Cleaver said. "He pitched really well. All three pitches were working."
Earlham, which plated a run in the first, scored two unearned runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead. After neither team scored in the fourth, Kyle Short reached base in the top of the fifth with a single, breaking a streak of 14 retired batters. Unfortunately for the visitors, a groundout ended the inning. The hosts tacked on two more runs in the fifth and one in the six to extend the lead to 6-0.
Wilmington's offense reached base in both the seventh and eighth innings, but failed to score. The Fightin' Quakers finally broke through in the ninth. After a groundout, Josh Chua was hit by a pitch and stole second base. A flyout from Jake Hyatt advanced Chua to third, but also put Wilmington down to its final out. The Fightin' Quakers then delivered three consecutive RBI-hits including doubles from Luke Kleindl and Short as well as a single from Nick Silvis to get within three runs at 6-3. The visitors could not get the tying run to the plate, however, as a fielder's choice ended game one.
Short finished game one 2-for-4 with an RBI while four other Wilmington Quakers tallied hits. The Earlham Quakers had 10 hits including a 4-for-4 day from Addison Robertson.
"We are pretty strong at the top of the order, and it was the top of the order that did the damage in the ninth inning," Cleaver said. "I'm pleased that we started hitting the ball."
In game two, Earlham plated two runs in the second and one in the third to take a three-run advantage. Wilmington answered in the top of the fourth with an RBI-single from Keith Hayes and a sacrifice bunt from Ian Brinker. Trailing 3-2, Wilmington surrendered two runs in the bottom of the fourth and a single run in the fifth.
The Fightin' Quakers, who had kept Earlham from a big inning, did not allow the hosts to score in the sixth, but Earlham plated six runs on eight hits in the seventh to all but put the game out of reach.
Similar to game one, Wilmington's office did not quit as the Fightin' Quakers mounted an offensive surge in the ninth inning. Wilmington sent nine men to the plate and tallied RBI hits from Chua, Jake Hyatt and Joey Allinder to score four runs.
Jared Ferenchak took the loss allowing three earned runs on seven hits in three innings pitched. Lance Flieschman and Tyler McDaniel, who both came in for over an innings, pitched effectively out of the bullpen. Colin Greve earned the win for Earlham, allowing three earned runs in five innings pitched.
Wilmington tallied a dozen hits as a team including three hits from Shane Hale. Gabe Bley and Chua both added two hits while Hyatt added a team-high three RBIs.
Earlham tallied 20 hits including three-hit afternoons for Marc Gendreau, Ian Bach and Andrew McFadden.
Wilmington (0-2) will look to split the weekend series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday).