Trine Opens MIAA Play With Split Against Kalamazoo

Trine Opens MIAA Play With Split Against Kalamazoo

ANGOLA, IND.  --  The Trine University baseball team split a pair of games against Kalamazoo (Mich.) College in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and home opener at Jannen Field.  The Thunder fell to the Hornets, 8-6, in game one and then captured a 3-2 victory in the nightcap in extra innings.

In game one, Kalamazoo (2-6, 1-1 MIAA) struck first with two runs in the top of the first inning, but Trine (7-5, 1-1 MIAA) answered with a pair of runs of its own in the bottom of the second that came on a two-RBI single by junior Zachary Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) with bases loaded to make the score, 2-2.

The two teams then traded runs in the third inning with KZOO's run being a solo homerun and Trine scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Colton Conn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) that allowed sophomore Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) to score from third.

The Thunder took the lead with a three-run fourth that included a two-RBI double by senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central) and a RBI-single by freshman Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) that made the score 6-3.

KZOO chipped away at the deficit with a run in the top of the fifth and sixth innings to make it a one-run game, 6-5, going into the seventh inning.  The Hornets then tied the game in the seventh with a lead-off solo homerun.  After the homer, KZOO got a runner in scoring position with a double which later scored on another homerun, this time a two-run shot, to take an 8-6 advantage heading into the bottom of the frame.

Trine got a runner on base in its half of the seventh with a walk, but the potential run came with two outs already on the board.  Before the Thunder could plate the run, the Hornets recorded the final out to post the 8-6 come-from-behind win.

At the plate for Trine, the Thunder ended the game with 10 hits, led by Schulte who finished three-of-four to go along with a run scored and two RBI.  O'Malley and junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) both went two-of-three with O'Malley adding a pair of RBI and Heller also had a run scored.  

On the hill, senior Ben Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Central) got the start, but would end up with a no decision after pitching five and two-third innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on eight hits and struck out three batters.  Senior Dylan Hutchison (Montpelier, Ohio/North Central) ended up as the pitcher of record, pitching the last inning, but would be credited with the loss after giving up three runs.  Freshman Kyle Robinson (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) also saw some playing time and replaced Wheaton to close out the sixth inning with a strikeout in his only batter faced in the game.

In the second game, Kalamazoo threatened early with a runner on third base and no outs in the top of the first inning.  But three straight strikeouts by Trine starting pitcher, Mike Gustin (Hudson, Ind./Prairie Heights), ended the possible scoring threat and kept the game scoreless.  The Hornets later got on the board with a score in the top of the second inning to take a slim, 1-0, margin. 

Then in the bottom of the fifth, Trine moved ahead on the scoreboard with two runs that came on a two-run single by Rivet with runners at every base to make the score, 2-1.  The Thunder maintained their one-run lead until the top of the seventh when KZOO scored the game-tying run on a double, making the score, 2-2.

Neither team could score the go-ahead or potential game-winning run the rest of the way, despite both teams having scoring opportunities in the final innings of regulation, resulting in the game needing extra innings to decide the winner. 

In the top of the tenth, KZOO got runners on first and third, but with two outs, and the inning would end in a Hornet strikeout, keeping the game deadlocked at 2-2.  In the bottom of the frame, Trine got the potential winning run on base with a lead-off single.  Following a sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position, the Hornets eventually loaded the bases on a pair of walks and only had one out.  The opportunity set up a single by Schulte that found the gap on the right side of the infield and allowed sophomore Jacob Douglass (Frankfort, Ind./Western) to score from third, who came into the game as a pinch runner following the lead-off single to begin the inning.  The run by Schulte gave Trine the 3-2 victory and the two-game split against KZOO.

The Trine bats stayed hot in the nightcap with 10 hits.  Three players recorded multi-hit games with Schulte and junior Stephen Sieczkowski (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Technical) both going two-of-four at the plate.  Schulte also added a RBI to go along with his two hits, and Sieczkowski added a run scored.  Rivet rounded out the multi-hitters with two hits in five at-bats in addition to driving in a pair of runs.

Sophomore Mike Gustin (Hudson, Ind./Prairie Heights) started at pitcher and went seven solid innings allowing two runs on four hits and struck out eight batters in a no decision.  Fellow sophomore Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) ptiched the final three innings and was credited with the win after allowing no runs and just two hits to go along with four strikeouts.

The two teams will square-off again tomorrow (Friday, Mar. 23) in another MIAA doubleheader to complete the four-game series.  The two games tomorrow will be played at Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo, Mich. with the first game of the twinbill scheduled for 2 p.m.