The Hope College baseball team took advantage of a rainout a day earlier and let head coach Stu Fritz achieve a career milestone at his home away from home.
The Flying Dutchmen swept Albion 7-0 and 6-5 on Friday at Boeve Stadium to give Fritz his 499th and 500th career victories.
The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association series was scheduled to open at Albion on Thursday before rain postponed those games until Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m.
Fritz, who now has a career record of 500-376-2 in 23 seasons, said it was special for he and his family to achieve this success at a place like Hope.
“I’ve just looked back at the players I’ve had over the past 23 years, and I couldn’t ask for more,” Fritz told the Holland Sentinel. “They have been wonderful human beings as well as great baseball players. I just feel lucky and fortunate to be around them.”
Fritz is Hope’s all-time winningest coach. He has guided the Flying Dutchmen to a MIAA-record nine league championships and four NCAA Division III Tournament appearances during his tenure.
The path to 500 wins began with a 5-3 win against Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) in 1994, his first season.
Win No. 500 came with plenty of drama.
The Flying Dutchmen held on after closer Matt Glowacki of Goodrich, Michigan (Goodrich HS) yielded four runs in the top of the ninth inning. He faced eight batters before retiring Shane Lindemann on a grounder to third baseman Danny Carrasco of Grandville, Michigan (Calvin Christian HS) to end the game.
Hope (20-13 overall) reached the 20-win mark for the eighth consecutive season and the 17th time during Fritz’s tenure. The Flying Dutchmen also remained in second place in the MIAA standings with a 15-7 record.
Hope broke open a close game with a four-run seventh that included a RBI single from centerfielder Ben De Ritter of Jenison, Michigan (Jenison HS) and bases-loaded walks by first baseman Landon Brower of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) designated hitter Luke Brower of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) and Carrasco.
Luke Brower gave Hope a 2-1 lead in the sixth with a RBI double. Leftfielder Ryan Konkle of Marshall, Michigan (Marshall HS) tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth with his fifth home of the season.
Konkle now has 46 RBI, the second-most in Flying Dutchmen history. He trails Kyle Blackport (2002) by three.
Winning pitcher Coty Franklin of Vermontville, Michigan (Maple Valley HS) scattered five hits, including a Michael Fischbach solo home run, over eight innings. Franklin (5-1) struck out five and did not walk a batter.
In Game 1, senior Jake Chipka of Waterville, Ohio (Anthony Wayne HS) fired a four-hit shutout. Chipka (4-4) struck out seven and walked four over seven innings.
Ryan Konkle gave Chipka all the support he needed with a two-run single in the bottom of the second inning.
The Flying Dutchmen tacked on a RBI groundout from second baseman Michael Barnett of Saline, Michigan (Saline HS) in the fifth and a three-run fifth that included one unearned run and RBI singles from Carrasco and catcher Nick Glowacki of Goodrich, Michigan (Goodrich HS).