ADRIAN, Mich. – It took two games Friday afternoon, but the Kalamazoo College baseball team is headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.
After falling to Hope 4-2 in the first game of the MIAA Championship series, Kalamazoo rebounded with the clinching win in game two, winning 3-1.
Looking to clinch the championship sooner rather than later, Kalamazoo struck first in the top of the second as Josh Reuter doubled down the leftfield line and scored David Kracht, but Hope answered back quickly.
The Dutchmen took the lead in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two runs, and never trailed the rest of the way.
With Hope extending its lead to 4-1 by the eighth inning, the Hornets made a comeback effort in the top half of the eighth as Jordan Wiley and Ian Kobernick led off with singles but the rally fell short with only Wiley making it home.
Kalamazoo recorded 11 hits, two more than Hope, but the Hornets left eight men on base.
Nic Janssen provided a quality start going six innings, giving up three runs on eight hits.
After tossing a complete game win just two days ago in the first round against Adrian, Ryan Orr took the bump for the Hornets in the MIAA tournament's final game and didn't disappoint.
The sophomore from Dewitt completed eight and one-third innings for K while striking out four and giving up just seven hits on his way to the win.
Both teams were held scoreless for the first four innings of play, but Kalamazoo made the breakthrough in the bottom of the fifth as Jack Clark doubled to leftfield driving in Reuter.
The Hornets added a run in the sixth when Nate Donovan doubled driving in Brett Garwood. Garwood drew a walk with the bases loaded in the seventh to extended the Hornets' lead to 3-0.
With Hope threatening in the top of the ninth down just two, Aaron Schwark come on to close the game and sealed Kalamazoo's first MIAA tournament championship forcing a 5-4-3 double play for the game's final two outs.
Kalamazoo out-hit the Dutchmen 11-7 in the tournament's final game.
The Hornets find out their draw for the NCAA tournament on Sunday, May 15.