This past week the Kalamazoo College baseball team traveled to Wisconsin to compete in the NCAA Regional Tournament, earning their spot by winning the MIAA Conference Tournament for the first time in school history.
The Hornets arrived in Wisconsin on Tuesday evening to practice on the field at host University of Wisconsin La Crosse. On Wednesday the Hornets played in the night game of the tournament against #2 seeded Concordia Ill., turning to junior Aaron Schwark to start the game on the mound. Concordia struck first, scoring three runs in the first, but the Hornets replied with two of their own in the third to cut the deficit to 3-2.
That was as close as Kalamazoo would get though, as Concordia countered with two more in the bottom half of the third, and six in the fourth to chase Schwark from the game. In the end, the Hornets fell 13-2, sending them to the losers’ half of the bracket. On day two, Kalamazoo turned to all-MIAA hurler sophomore Ryan Orr.
Much like on day one, the Hornets surrendered 3 runs in the first, digging themselves a hole early. In the second, Kalamazoo got one run back, but a ninth inning rally came up short in the end, and the Hornets fell 4-2, eliminating them from the tournament, and ending the record breaking season.
Following the weekend, Orr and junior third-baseman Jack Clark were both named to the Division III All-Mideast Region second team. Clark finished the season with a .362 batting average, to go along with a .495 on base percentage, while also leading the Hornets in walks (31) and tied for the team lead in RBI (30). Orr was the workhorse for the Kalamazoo pitching staff, tossing 90 innings, amassing 78 strikeouts, and posting a 1.99 earned run average.
After finishing the season with a school record for total wins, and MIAA wins, along with their MIAA title, the Hornets will look to make it deeper into the NCAA tournament next year, as they only lose one senior, returning the vast majority of this year’s squad.