The hits started early in Game 1 of the best-of-three WHAC Baseball Championship Series, and they didn't stop all night.
No. 23 Indiana Tech and Madonna combined for 33 hits, 21 of which came from the Warriors, who won 18-9 at Warrior Field to move one win away from their first Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament championship since 2013.
Spenser McGhee, Glen McClain and Jashaun Simon homered to lead top-seeded Indiana Tech's offensive onslaught. Simon's blast was the first homer of his career and his first extra-base hit of the season. It bounced off the dorms well beyond the fence.
Warriors coach Kip Williams credited hitting coach Pat Collins-Bride with putting together a game plan for the Tech hitters, which they executed to perfection.
“We took a side of the plate away,” Williams said of his team's approach. “Basically, get on top of the plate and force (Madonna pitchers) to throw that outside corner edge. And then of course understanding beyond that outside corner edge, you really focus on taking it opposite field.”
McGhee had a career night for the Warriors, going 4 for 5 with a home run, a triple, five RBI and three runs scored. He set game career-highs in hits, RBI and runs scored.
“I was just hunting the fastball,” the designated hitter said. “Sticking to my approach, trying to stay inside the ball and drive it.”
Shortstop Gordon Ferguson homered twice for second-seeded Madonna.
The Warriors (37-14-1) got going in the first when McClain hit a solo home run to left, the 16th of the season for the two-time WHAC Player of the Year. No other player in either lineup had more than five homers coming into the game.
McClain started the game behind the plate for Tech but took a foul ball off the knee in the third inning and hobbled to the dugout after tossing his mask to the ground in obvious pain. He left the game and did not return, and Williams said the catcher is questionable to play today.
“He's gonna be fine,” the coach said. “He's got a bruise on his knee, should be fine. We'll see how it looks (today).”
Even without their best hitter, the Warriors' bats stayed hot. They broke the game open with six runs in the second inning, knocking starting pitcher Victor Mencotti out of the game after just 12/3 innings. The big blow came from McGhee, who ripped a bases-loaded triple down the right-field line to drive in three runs.
Madonna (35-19) fell behind 9-1 but crept as close as four runs thanks to Ferguson's two homers and a third long ball from Jalen Thomas. It was 12-8 at the stretch, but Tech slammed the door with five runs in the seventh.
The victory marked the Warriors' 12th game in a row without a loss. They've won 11 and tied once since April 22. They were swept by Madonna in the regular-season series.
“We always tell the guys, don't think about winning or losing the game during the matter,” Williams said. “Just focus on that first pitch, so we're focused on that first for (today) already.”
WHAC Baseball Championship Series
Indiana Tech vs. Madonna
Where: Warrior Field
When: Game 2: 3 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): 30 minutes after end of Game 2