Northwood baseball basks in epic offensive outburst: 31 runs, 27 hits, 10 homers
Northwood University is getting set to depart the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. And, apparently, it's leaving with a bang — and another, and another.
Northwood put on an offensive display for the ages Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader at Saginaw Valley State, scoring 31 runs on 27 hits, 10 of which were home runs. The Timberwolves had as many hits as outs in the 31-12 win.
Yes, Saturday was a windy day all over the Midwest. That helped, to be sure. But Northwood players barreled up a whole lot of baseballs, too.
"You know what, our guys have done a pretty nice job all year of putting together pretty good at-bats and scoring a ton of runs," said head coach Jake Sabol, who noted the eighth inning, when Northwood scored 10 runs, wasn't the first time his team has put up a double-digit spot in an inning this season. "We've been pretty consistent at that.
"And that day, our guys were feeding off each other."
In the game, every Northwood starting batter had multiple hits or scored multiple runs, or in several cases, both.
Senior first baseman Connor Kin (Walled Lake Western) led the attack with four home runs, all to right or right-center for the left-handed hitter.
Kin never had hit more than one in a game. He went his entire senior season at Walled Lake Western without hitting one.
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"It was a fluke thing," said Kin, a walk-on as a freshman and a platoon player for three seasons who now is batting .393 with eight homers and 35 RBIs as a senior, and, no surprise, was just named GLIAC player of the week.
"It was really surreal."
The first homer was to right-center, the second was golfed high down the right-field, the third one went the furthest to right-center, and the fourth one hit off the metal scoreboard in right-center, making a big bang, and leading to some chuckles from Sabol, the bench and even Kin as he was rounding second base. He couldn't help himself. The first three home runs came on fastballs, the last one might've been a change-up.
The game actually was close through seven, Northwood leading 17-12, before the Timberwolves put up 10 in the eighth and four in the ninth. Kin homered in both innings.
"Oh my God, it felt like it kept going on forever and ever, barrel after barrel," Kin said of the eighth-inning outburst. "It was just really fun to be a part of."
Jacob Rybicki, a sophomore outfielder from Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, had five hits, including two home runs. Two more players had four hits, two more had three, two more had two, and senior infielder Michael Karam (Warren De La Salle) had six RBIs. You want the rest, check out the box score. Ink's expensive.
The 31 runs, 10 home runs and four-in-one-game for Kin set GLIAC records, though the run record lasted about an hour — before Northwood players even learned they set the record, Ashland had broken it, in a 32-11 victory over Parkside.
In one game, Northwood (21-10) raised its batting average 10 points, from .322 to .332. In one game, Saginaw Valley State (13-10), which only five pitchers, saw its ERA go from 6.98 to 8.13.
In Division II, like high school, baseballs — home runs and foul balls — are fetched, by players, or fans, for reuse. A kid kept one of Kin's; amazingly, they didn't run out.
"Fortunately for us, Saginaw Valley was providing the baseballs," Sabol, whose athletic department announced last week it would leave for the smaller-school Great Lakes Midwest Conference in 2022, said with a laugh. "So that was their issue."