The University of Findlay baseball team used a pair of big innings in their contest vs. Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opponent Hillsdale College in a game held in Hillsdale, MI. The 11-inning battle ended with the Oilers on top 13-9 and pushed Findlay's record to 10-21 overall and 7-14 in conference play.
When closer Alex Williams stepped off the bus, he probably did not imagine that he would pitch 4.2 innings and earn the victory, but that is exactly what happened for the junior and that contribution was key in a game that was highlighted by offense.
Findlay struck for a run in the top of the first inning when Jordan Garcia, who reached on an error, came around to score on a Reid Rothenbuhler single. The lead did not last as the Chargers answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning off Oiler starter Drew Hargrove.
Two innings later, in the bottom of the third, Hillsdale got to Hargrove for four runs on four hits, ending the senior's day and putting the home team on top 5-1 after three complete.
The Oilers came back and scored a run of their own in the top of the fourth when Draper reached on an error and scored on a single to center by Logan Harrah. Kevin Schrock followed with a single, but a strikeout ended the threat with a pair of runners on base.
Findlay scored again in the fifth thanks to a leadoff double from Garcia, who later scored on a fielder's choice by Draper and picked up another run in the top of the seventh when Joe Sickler doubled in Rothenbuhler.
Hillsdale scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh and with two outs, A.J. Cecil gave way to Wililams, who came in simply to stop the bleeding as the score after seven complete was 8-4 in favor of the Chargers.
WIth a comeback looking dubious, the Oilers dug deep and doubled their run total in the top of the eighth. Schrock and Louis reached to begin the inning and Garcia then laced his second double of the day, plating Schrock and moving Louis to third. Louis scored on a sac fly from Peter Yorgen and Garcia scored on a single from Rothenbuhler. The final run of the inning came on a bases loaded walk to Nick Antonides. With four runs already across and the bases loaded with one out, the final two batters of the inning struck out, halting the onslaught, but the damage had been done and the score was then tied 8-8.
This is where Williams took over. The junior pitched the eighth, ninth, and tenth without allowing a run, which is all the Oilers needed.
In the top of the 11th inning with the score knotted at eight, Findlay's offense came through for five runs, all with two outs. Harrah walked to begin the inning but was followed by a sac bunt and pop up. Harrah later scored when Yorgen rolled a single through the right side. The big blow of the inning came when, with the bases loaded, Draper laced a double to left field, scoring two runs and pushing the lead to three. A wild pitch scored Miguel Valdez and moved Draper to third and Draper then crossed the dish on a passed ball. A fly out ended the inning but not before the Oilers grabbed a 13-8 lead with only three outs to play.
Hillsdale did score a run in the bottom of the 11th but it was not enough as Schrock scooped up a ground ball and fired it to first for the final out of the game.
Williams picked up the win on the mound as he pitched 4.2 innings and allowed just one run on six hits. He walked four and struck out five on 103 pitches out of the pen.
Rothenbuhler laced three hits and walked twice while at the dish and collected two RBI and also scored two runs. Garcia had two hits and crossed the plate four times while Yorgen, Draper, Sickler, and Louis also had two hits each.
Findlay and Hillsdale are back at it tomorrow afternoon as they conclude their three-game series with a double header that will begin at noon.