HUNTINGTON – The Grace College baseball team was held to four hits in a 7-3 conference loss against No. 24 Huntington on Wednesday.
The Lancers remained within striking distance of the Foresters (24-8, 17-3 Crossroads League) for much of the nine-inning game, but Grace could not produce enough offense to keep pace.
Grace actually jumped ahead of the league-leading Foresters in the first inning. Huntington scored once in the top half, but the Lancers (13-25-1, 5-16 CL) answered with two more.
Gavin Bussard led off the inning with a walk. Two batters later, Austin Baker launched the first pitch he saw over the left field fence to give Grace a 2-0 lead.
Huntington did not allow that lead to remain for long. The Foresters responded with three runs over the next two innings to take the lead for good.
In the bottom of the fifth, Grace pulled back within one run. Cameron Maxwell singled to start the inning and was bunted over to second base. Shay Hepler then placed a line drive down the right field line to score Maxwell and make the game 4-3.
Grace’s offense went dry for the rest of the game, however. The Foresters slowly chipped away at Grace’s pitching, scoring a single run in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings to pull away 7-3.
The Lancers, on the other hand, could not produce a hit after the fifth inning and had to settle for the loss. Altogether, Grace was outhit 11-4.
Aaron Voirol pitched two clean innings of relief as the team’s most effective hurler, and Jacob Hammel, Kyle Brunner and Jake Farley each allowed a run to score in an inning of work from the mound.
Bussard finished 1-for-1 with 1 double, 1 run and 3 walks from the leadoff position. Baker was 1-for-4 with two RBIs, and Hepler was 1-for-4 with one run driven in.
The Lancers remain at home for the next three dates. Grace will host Goshen on Friday and Saturday for a three-game series. Friday is a single nine-inning game starting at 3 p.m., and Saturday is a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.