Hilbert Baseball Goes 4-3 During South Carolina Trip

The Hilbert College Baseball team traveled down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to compete in seven games over a six day stretch during spring break.

They earned a record of 4-3 while down south to bring their overall record to 5-6. Two Hawks, Brendan Walsh and Pat Whelan, earned athletic honors for their play in Myrtle Beach.

The spring trip was described as “an overall fun experience for both team bonding purposes and playing” by Walsh. The team played in competitive games and all players became closer to one another, he added.

On their first day, the Hawks saw an early morning double-header against Penn Tech College where they split the series by losing 4-2 in game one and winning game 2, 5-4.

In game one, Hilbert would only be able to plate across two runs. The first run was given in the top of the first inning after Derek Martinez reached base safely on an error that scored Whelan. The second run was earned in the fifth inning off of a double by Pat Whelan that scored Jairo Santos. Despite the strong outing by first-year pitcher, Andrew Cole, the Hawks were not able to generate enough runs to win game one. Cole threw 5.2 innings, allowing only one earned run and striking out two batters.

Game two saw a fast pace with little offense for either side. Penn Tech was able to score four runs in six innings, three of which unearned. The Hawks would not plate a run until the bottom of the sixth, when an RBI single off the bat of Manny McClain scored Derek Martinez. Hilbert would tie the game after back-to-back walks and a wild pitch scored three more runs. In the bottom of the seventh, senior Angelo DiNizo would double to left field, scoring Frank McCabe, allowing the Hawks to earn a walk-off win, 5-4.

Day two of competition was against Delaware Valley College, for a single 9-inning game. The Hawks struck early by scoring one run in the first inning and one run in the second inning. These runs came off the bat of a Thomas Evans double and a Griff McAndrews ground ball. Delaware Valley’s pitching silenced the hawks for the remaining seven innings while pushing across eight throughout the game, creating a final score of 8-2. Freshman Brendan Hediger had an impressive performance on the mound, throwing five innings, allowing one earned run, and striking out four.

The fourth game of the trip was a contest, under the lights, against Valley Forge University, which resulted in another walk-off win for the Hawks. Hilbert would take turns with the lead with Valley Forge until they claimed a 6-4 lead over the Hawks in the seventh inning. The Hawks would not respond until the bottom of the ninth when a Derek Martinez ground out made it 6-5. Jack Duffek was able to seal the game for Hilbert with a two RBI single to give the Hawks a 7-6 victory.

When asked about his big hit, Duffek described the at-bat as a great opportunity and the “kind of situation you dream of.”

“Down one, bases loaded, down to the final out.”

He kept his approach simple, saying to himself “take a deep breath, hit something hard.”

A deflating walk-off defeat for Hilbert against Clark Summit College would be overshadowed by a two-win day against Geneva College. The score of the double header would be 3-2 and 11-4. In game one, a Thomas Evans RBI, a John Riviere fielder’s choice, and a balk generated enough runs to defeat Geneva, given another strong outing from Cole. Cole held Geneva to one earned run over 5+ innings of work.

The second game against Geneva saw an offensive explosion for Hilbert. Ben Ratajczak, Evans, Whelan, Ben Chowaniec, and John Watson all recorded RBIs in the game. Whelan, Evans, and Santos also recorded extra-base hits. One of Whelan’s extra-base hits was a monster home run over the right field wall that gave the Hawks a 7-0 lead in the second inning. This game also saw another dominant outing from pitcher, Hediger, who threw six innings, allowing only one earned run.

For their actions over spring break, Walsh earned AMCC Pitcher of the Week while Whelan earned Hawk of the Week. Walsh appeared in two games, allowing no runs and only one base runner over five innings of work. He recorded two wins and a save while down south. Whelan posted a .444 batting average in Myrtle, while slugging .833. He also put together three multi-hit games over the week.

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