WINTER HAVEN, FLA. -- The Trine University baseball team recorded 17 hits and plated 22 runs to win big against Penn State-Altoona, 22-6, in a single nine-inning game in Winter Haven, Fla.
The Thunder scored all 22 of their runs without hitting a homerun and three players ended the day with multi-hit games, including a pair with four hits. Sophomore Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) had three hits in five at-bats and finished with six RBI to go along with three runs scored. Junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) went four-of-five at the plate and scored five runs. Fellow junior Zachary Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) also had four hits in seven attempts and scored three runs in addition to a RBI.
Six other players recorded a base hit in the game, including senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central) who went one-of-three with four runs scored and two RBI. Freshman Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) also had a big day offensively going one-of-four at the plate with three runs scored and a RBI.
Freshman Adam Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) got his first collegiate win at pitcher going seven full innings and allowed three runs on nine hits and had three strikeouts. Freshman Heath Houser (Kenton, Ohio/Kenton Senior) and senior Dylan Hutchison (Montpelier, Ohio/North Central) both pitched an innning in relief with Houser giving up three runs, none earned, and Hutchison pitching a scoreless inning and had a strikeout.
Both teams scored a pair of runs in the first inning with Trine's (3-1) runs coming on a pair of defensive errors. PSU-Altoona (2-6) took the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Thunder then exploded for 20 unanswered runs beginning with three runs in the sixth that included a RBI-double by O'Malley and a RBI-triple by Ricci to make the score, 5-3, in favor of Trine.
Trine added two more runs in the top of the seventh on another RBI-hit by Ricci and a RBI-base knock by sophomore Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) and was followed by four more runs in the eighth highlighted by a bases-loaded walk and a RBI-single by junior Cale Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) to make the score, 11-3. The Lions got three runs back in the bottom of the eighth to make it an 11-6 game.
But the Thunder then blew the game open in the top of the ninth with 11 runs with several RBI-hits that included a pair of two-RBI doubles by junior Stephen Sieczkowski (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Technical) and Ricci. The 11 runs eliminated any threat of a further comeback by PSU-Altoona and allowed Trine to cruise to the 22-6 final.
PSU-Altoona had 11 hits of its own in the game, but committed seven errors defensively.
Trine will next play a nine-inning game against New Jersey City University tomorrow (Wednesday, Mar. 7) in the RussMatt Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla. The game is slated to start at 9 a.m.