ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University baseball team began a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association four-game series against Alma (Mich.) College with a pair of close losses, falling to the Scots, 7-5, in game one and, 4-3, in game two at Jannen Field in Angola.
In game one, Trine (8-14, 2-8 MIAA) outhit Alma (13-9, 6-4 MIAA), 10-7, and grabbed the early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning on a pair of RBI-singles by sophomores Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) and Jake Roddy (Angola, Ind./Angola) along with a RBI-double by senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central).
The advantage remained three runs until the top of the fifth inning when the Scots took the lead with five runs. But the Thunder offense answered in the bottom half of the fifth with two runs that came on a RBI-base hit by senior Colton Conn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) and another RBI-base hit by O'Malley to even the game at 5-5.
In the top of the seventh, Alma got a pair of runners on base with back-to-back bunts. Following a wild pitch that advanced both runners, both runners would cross home plate on sacrifice flyouts to give the Scots a 7-5 lead. The bottom of the seventh began with consecutive outs by Trine. Rivet then hit a double and O'Malley walked on the next at-bat to put runners at first and second. But Alma got the final out before the tying or potential game-winning run could score, sealing a 7-5 victory.
Rivet ended game one with a team-high three hits, in four at-bats, and also scored a run and a RBI. O'Malley finished with a pair of hits and went two-of-three overall with a run scored and two RBI. Conn also recorded a pair of hits and was two-of-four with two runs scored and a RBI.
Senior Ben Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Central) started at pitcher and went four and two-thirds innings allowing five runs on three hits and struck out four batters in a no decision. Sophomore Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) ended up with the loss after going two-and-a-third innings and gave up two runs on four hits.
The nightcap began in similar fashion as game one with Trine taking the first lead with three runs in the bottom of the third inning highlighted by a two-RBI single by junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights). The other run crossed home plate on a single by O'Malley.
Alma made a dent in the Trine lead in the fifth inning with two runs to make it a 3-2 game.
The lead remained a run for the Thunder until the top of the eighth inning when Alma went ahead on the scoreboard with a two-run homerun to make it a 4-3 game. Trine looked to answer in its half of the inning with runners at first and second base with only one out. But a double play ended the threat and preserved a one-run lead for the Scots heading into the final inning.
Following a one-two-three inning defensively for Trine in the top of the ninth, the Thunder had with runners at first and second base, but this time with two outs already on the board. The game would en end, however, on a flyout before any runs could cross home plate as Alma hung on for the 4-3 win and the doubleheader sweep to begin the series.
Trine had three players finish game two with multiple hits with Heller and O'Malley both going two-of-four. Heller also added a run scored and two RBI, while O'Malley added a RBI. Conn was two-of-five in addition to scoring a run.
On the mound, freshman Adam Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) pitched a solid game, but ended up with the loss after going seven and two-thirds innings and struck out a season-high 11 batters. Deiter made a second relief appearance pitching an inning-and-a-third in the nightcap and gave up no runs or hits.
The two teams will face each other again tomorrow (Monday, Apr. 9) with another MIAA doubleheader. The games will shift north and will played at Alma with the first game slated to begin at 2 p.m. in Alma, Mich.