By Luke Tanaka, Radio Broadcaster
Battle Creek, Mich. – The Lakeshore Chinooks used a four-run eighth inning to spoil opening night at C.O. Brown Stadium, defeating the Battle Creek Bombers 4-2.
The starting pitchers dominated the first four innings, as the teams only scratched out two hits a piece through the first half of the game. Alex Hermeling (Louisiana-Monroe) pitched 6 1-3 shutout innings for the Bombers, while giving up just two hits and striking out eight. Trek Stemp (Washington State) helped preserve Hermeling's stellar outing with a fourth-inning diving catch in right field. Lakeshore’s Gavin Downs (Purdue) countered Hermeling with six impressive innings of his own allowing five hits and one run.
The Bombers broke through for the game’s first run in the fifth. Tyler Walsh (Belmont) doubled off the left field wall and advanced to third on a Christian Helsel (Penn State) single. Spencer Hemphill (Louisiana-Monroe) put Battle Creek on the board with a sacrifice fly to right field.
With one out in the seventh, Michael Petersen (Riverside CC) relived Hermeling and allowed a walk before forcing two groundouts to end the frame.
In the eighth, Lakeshore sent nine batters to the plate, combining for four runs on five hits against Petersen and Edgar Sanchez. Jake Romano (Miami-OH) singled and quickly reached scoring position on a stolen base and a passed ball, before Rich Rodriguez (Cincinnati) singled him home. After a groundout, Rodriguez scored from second on Joe Stoll’s (Ohio State) RBI single. Drake Parker (Vanderbilt) followed with another base knock. Both Stoll and Parker reached scoring position on a passed ball and Petersen hit Raley before Sanchez took the ball.
With Aaron Rzucidio’s (Georgia) batting, Sanchez threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt, which allowed both Stoll and Parker to score. Sanchez finished the inning by striking out Rzucidio and forcing Jake Kolasinski (UW-Parkside) to pop out to the catcher.
The Bombers threatened in each of the last two innings by loading the bases. Tim McKeithan (Brown) walked and scored on a Cayce Bredlau (Austin Peay) single to pull the Bombers within two, but Bredlau, Simmons, and Dre Gleason (Austin Peay) were stranded when Walsh grounded out to third base.
In the ninth, Christian Helsel (Penn State) and Spencer Hemphill (Louisiana-Monroe) both reached on singles. McKeithan tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but Jake Tuttle (UW-Milwaukee) made a great play to cut down Helsel at third. Stemp flied out to center, but Bredlau walked to keep the Bombers alive. Tuttle escaped the jam and ended the game by forcing Swain to ground out to second.
Bredlau reached base three times to lead the Bombers offense, while Walsh’s double remained the only extra-base hit of the contest.
The Bombers and Chinooks wrap up their two-game series with an afternoon game tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05. It is also Hump Day Hookie College Fair & Career Day. Universities and colleges from across the state will be providing further information about secondary education. U.S. Army Representatives will also be on hand to discuss career opportunities.