Thunder Drop Opening Doubleheader Against Calvin

Thunder Drop Opening Doubleheader Against Calvin

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.  --  The Trine University baseball team fell twice against Calvin (Mich.) College, 5-1 and 9-5, in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association doubleheader in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The duo of junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) and sophomore Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) led the Trine hitters with a combined three hits in eight at-bats.  Heller also had a RBI and a run scored, while Rivet added a run scored.  Senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central) ended the day two-of-six with a run scored and a RBI.  Sophomore Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) also ended the day with a pair of hits (two-of-six overall).

In game one, Calvin (6-10, 4-2 MIAA) took the lead in the bottom of the third inning with three runs on a RBI-double and a two-RBI single. 

Trine (7-9, 1-5 MIAA) got one of the runs back in the top of the sixth when junior Zachary Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) and freshman Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) began the inning with back-to-back singles and would later end up at second and third base with no outs.  Two batters later, Heller got one of the runs home on a base hit, but a double-play ended the possible rally as the Thunder cut the deficit to 3-1.  The Knights answered the Trine run in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run single to increase the margin to 5-1.

In the seventh, Trine began the frame with a single and a double to put runners at second and third base.  Following consecutive strikeouts, Trine recorded a walk to load the bases, trailing by four runs.  But the game would end on an ensuing ground out preserving the 5-1 final for Calvin.

Trine outhit Calvin, 7-5, with all seven hits coming from different players.  Heller ended the game one-of-three with the RBI and Devine finished one-of-four and scored the Thunder's only run.

On the mound, senior Ben Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Central) pitched the entire game and allowed five runs, one earned, on five hits and had a career-high eight strikeouts.

In game two, Trine tallied five runs in the top of the third, highlighted by a two-RBI single by junior Chris Frantz (Niles, Mich./Niles) and a run-scoring base hit by O'Malley.  Calvin then responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to pull to within two runs, 5-3. 

The three runs by Calvin were part of a string of nine straight as the Knights slugged 15 hits and scored a run in the fifth inning, two in the six, two more runs in the seventh and a run in the eighth en route to the 9-5 come-from-behind victory and take the first two games of the four-game series.

Sophomore Mike Gustin (Hudson, Ind./Prairie Heights) started at pitcher for the Thunder and ended up with a no decision after going four innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits and had two strikeouts.  Three other pitchers saw action in the game, including sophomore Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) who was credited with the loss as the pitcher of record after pitching two innings in relief and allowed two runs on four hits.

The same teams will square-off again tomorrow (Friday, Mar. 30) with the final two games of the MIAA series being played at Jannen Field.  The first game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.