Herrmann tosses complete game shutout as Panthers split with Bluffton

David Herrmann pitching

HANOVER, Ind. - Junior pitcher David Herrmann (Fishers, Ind.) tossed a five-hit, complete game shutout as the Hanover baseball team split a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader with Bluffton Saturday afternoon at K.T. Young Ballpark. The Panthers won game one 3-0 before falling 4-1 in the night cap.

All three runs in the opening game came in the first inning. After Herrmann struck out two of the three hitters he faced in a one-two-three top of the first, sophomore Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) reached on an error to start the bottom. Coop then stole second and advanced to third when senior Jack Shine (New Albany, Ind.) singled to left to put runners on the corners. 

Junior Josh Meszaros (Loveland, Ohio) followed and delivered an RBI double down the left field line to make it 1-0 with runners at second and third. Junior Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) scored both Meszaros and Shine when he singled to right center, and Hanover led 3-0.

Herrmann did the rest. The third-year southpaw would go on to strike out a career-high 11, including at least one strikeout in seven of the nine innings, while striking out the side in the fourth. 

The Beavers had the bases loaded in the second and runners reach third in the fifth and eighth innings, but Herrmann stranded them all en-route to his first career shutout. 

Game two also proved to be a low-scoring affair as the two starting pitchers combined to allow one run in 14 innings of work. 

With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, junior Sam Orem (Greenwood, Ind.) singled to center field. Junior Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) lined a 3-2 pitch down the right field line for a double to give the Panthers runners at second and third. Another junior, Chase Sizemore (Fishers, Ind.), then scored Orem on a ground ball in the hole that the shortstop was able to knock down, but unable to make a play anywhere, and Hanover led 1-0.   

Junior pitcher Garett Zorb (Medina, Ohio), like Herrmann in the first game, was in control on the mound. Zorb retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced and allowed only one runner to reach second base over his eight innings of work with nobody able to advance to third.

Bluffton (16-13 overall, 5-7 HCAC), however, broke through in the ninth. The Beavers turned four hits and two errors into four runs to go in front 4-1. The Panthers were able to get two runners on in the ninth, but were unable to score either of them before the game ended.

Zorb received a no decision after allowing only two hits and two walks over eight innings of work. The junior struck out a career-high eight with at least one strikeout in six of the eight innings he pitched.

Meszaros, Fitch and Sizemore finished the game with two hits apiece. With a hit in each game, Meszaros has now hit safely in 11 straight games. 

Junior David Blanco (Fishers, Ind.) took the loss. He allowed four runs on four hits. 

Hanover, now 6-20 overall and 3-9 in the HCAC, will return to action Monday, April 23 for another conference doubleheader. The Panthers will host Transylvania (Ky.) with first pitch set for 1 p.m. at K.T. Young Ballpark. 

Contact: Mike Pritchard