Littlefield homers, logs five hits in baseball's doubleheader split at Wilmington

Andrew Littlefield

WILMINGTON, Ohio – Freshman Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) went 5-8 at the plate as the Hanover College baseball team split a road doubleheader at Wilmington (Ohio) Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers (8-7) took the first game, 6-3, behind two home runs in the fourth inning. Hanover was headed toward a sweep until a three-run eighth lifted the Quakers (6-12) in Game Two, 5-4.

GAME ONE RECAP (W, 6-3)

Littlefield led the offensive attack with a 3-4 performance, which included a pair of extra-base hits. Senior Ty Stover (Galveston, Ind.) and junior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) also added multiple hits.

On the mound, senior David Herrmann (Fishers, Ind.) went 7.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out a season-high 10 batters. Herrmann improved to 2-1 with the win. Sophomore Justin Pope (Fishers, Ind.) recorded the first save of his collegiate career, pitching a scoreless ninth.

Hanover captured an early lead, as senior Chase Sizemore (Fishers, Ind.) drove in sophomore Grant Larimore (LaGrange, Ky.) in the top of the first on a base hit to right field. Larimore hit a one-out single and stole second before scoring.

Herrmann kept HC in the lead with his efforts on the mound. The senior allowed just one hit over the first three innings, while striking out six batters. The Blue and Red still led 1-0 after three complete.

The fourth inning saw both sides score. Stover posted a one-out base hit and Walkenhorst followed with his third home run of the week. Littlefield added his own blast later in the frame, as HC led 4-1.

With its lead cut to two runs, Stover put the Panthers up 5-2 with an RBI base hit to left field. Junior Spencer Coop (Lexington, Ky.) led off the top of the eighth with a walk and stole second before crossing home plate.

Freshman Kevin Van Valkenburg (Georgetown, Ky.) drove in HC's sixth run with a base hit of his own to right field. Littlefield scored for the second time in the game to give the Blue and Red a 6-3 advantage heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Pope allowed a one-out walk and single to place runners on first and second and bring the tying run to the plate. The sophomore then produced a line out to left and a ground out to second to stave off the threat and secure the win.

GAME TWO RECAP (L, 5-4)

The night cap saw five players record multiple hits, including senior Tyler Fitch (Crestwood, Ky.) who was 3-4. Fitch headlined the 6-7-8 spot in the lineup, which also included Littlefield and Van Valkenburg, that combined for seven of the team's 14 hits.

Senior Garett Zorb (Medina, Ohio) received his first start of the season, allowing two hits and no runs through the first four innings of play. Zorb finished with seven innings of work, allowing two runs (one earned).

Hanover led 2-0 after four innings, scoring twice in the fourth. Stover and Walkenhorst reached to lead off the frame and later scored on base hits by Fitch and Van Valkenburg.

Four hits by the Quakers and a fielding error by HC produced two runs for Wilmington in the fifth. The two sides remained in a 2-2 stalemate through the seventh inning.

Van Valkenburg drove in his second run of the game to start a two-out rally in the eighth inning. Freshman Charlie Burton (Columbus, Ind.) followed in the next at-bat with his own RBI base hit, putting HC in front 4-2.

Wilmington though, had four of its first five batters reach in the bottom of the eighth, which ultimately led to three runs and a 5-4 lead. Hanover had a one-out hit from Sizemore in the ninth. The Panthers, who were aggressive on the base paths all afternoon, attempted to steal second to place a runner in scoring position, but the Quakers' catcher threw out the pinch runner to conclude the contest.

UP NEXT: Hanover continues non-conference action with a 4 p.m. first pitch at Thomas More (Ky.) Tuesday, March 26.

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu