GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -- The Defiance College baseball team traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich. and brought an 11-8 victory over Calvin College on Wednesday afternoon.
The Knights (12-19) started with an early 3-0 lead through two frames, before the Defiance (9-16) bats came alive in the third. The inning began with Calvin hitting two of the first three batters, and junior Michael Gilliland (Napoleon) took advantage and drove in freshman Lucas Thomeier (Wickliffe) for DC's first run. Senior Glen Collier (Zionsville, Ind.) tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run double to lef field. Knight pitching loaded the bases with a walk and a single for junior Tanner Stippich (Lima/Allen East), who was hit by a pitch to make it a 4-3 game. A two-out single for senior Mac Edwards (Kingston, Ont./Jefferson CC) scored the final run of the inning to put Defiance ahead, 5-3.
The Knights took the lead back with a three-spot in the third and scored another run in the fourth to take a 7-5 advantage, but a leadoff home run to right field from junior Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich.) cut the Knight lead to 7-6.
Defiance took the lead back in the sixth inning when a one-out double from Collier drove in two more runs to put the Yellow Jackets in front, 8-7.
The Yellow Jackets continued to pour the offense on in the seventh, when freshman Nate Kaffenbarger (DeGraff/Indian Lake) drove in Thomeier, followed by Gilliland adding two more RBI with a bases-loaded single up the middle to make the score 11-7.
Calvin added a run in the eighth, but the Yellow Jackets were able to hang on for their second straight victory, 11-8.
After freshman Daniel Tomalak (Tecumseh, Mich./Clinton) allowed six earned runs in the first three innings of play, the Yellow Jackets used seven different hurlers out of the bullpen. They looked stellar, as they combined to allow just two runs on four hits, including getting at least one scoreless inning from sophomore Grant Curavo (Northwood/Cardinal Stritch Catholic), sophomore Zac Brazen (Oxford/Talawanda), freshman Tyler Hines (Cincinnati/Northwest), and sophomore Kody King (Cecil/Fairview). Brazen was given credit for a win, the first of his collegiate career, while Konwinski picked up his third save of the season.
The Yellow Jacket offense was led by the top of the lineup, as the first four hitters in the order combined for 10 hits. Leadoff hitter Garrett Sierra (Defiance) went 2-for-6 with a run scored. Kaffenbarger and Gilliland had three hits apiece, while Gilliland had three RBI and scored two runs and Kaffenbarger crossed the plate three times. Collier also went 2-for-5 with a pair of two-run doubles, while also scoring a run. Konwinski added to the night with a home run and scoring a pair of runs.
Defiance will look to continue their hot streak on Thursday, Apr. 26, as they return to Craig A. Rutter Field for a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader against Manchester (Ind.) University. The beginning of the five-game homestand is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.