Thunder Sweep Final Games of Alma Series

Thunder Sweep Final Games of Alma Series

ALMA, MICH.  --  The Trine University baseball team came away with a pair of victories to end the four-game series against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association foe Alma College, 2-1 and 9-4, at Klenk Park in Alma, Mich.

The Thunder used an eight-run top of the ninth inning in game two with seven hits that included a pair of triples and three doubles while trailing, 3-1, to move ahead by seven runs en route to posting the 9-4 final and the two-game sweep.

Prior the high-scoring ninth, Trine had registered eight hits with its lone run coming in the top of the eighth inning.  

Alma (13-11, 6-6 MIAA) scored two runs in the first inning of the nightcap that included a solo home run in its first at-bat of the frame.  The Scots then added another run in the bottom of the fifth on a bases loaded walk to make the score, 3-0.  

Trine (10-14, 4-8 MIAA) got on the board with a run in the eighth that scored on a triple by senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central) and made the score, 3-1.

The Thunder bats then came alive in the top of the ninth that began with a hit by pitch and was followed by back-to-back pinch hit doubles that included a two-RBI double by sophomore Jake Roddy (Angola, Ind./Angola).  Junior Cale Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) continued the batting carousel with a third straight double that platted Roddy and tied the game at 3-3.  Trine later scored two more runs on a single by sophomore Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) that gave Trine a 5-3 lead.  O'Malley connected on his second triple of the game after the Rivet two-run base knock that scored Rivet and led to a run-scoring single by sophomore Jacob Douglass (Frankfort, Ind./Western) to make the score 8-3.  The final run came on an ensuing triple by freshman Nick Bonifant (Heath, Ohio/Heath) that gave Trine a 9-3 momentum swing. 

Alma did get a run in the bottom of the ninth, but the offensive onslaught by Trine was more than enough to secure the 9-4 victory.

Trine ended the game with 15 hits with junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) recording three of those hits (three-of-four overall) and scored a pair of runs.  Sophomore Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) also had three hits and went three-of-five overall.  Three players posted two hits, including Bonifant who was a perfect two-of-two after entering the game as a pinch hitter and also added a run scored and a RBI.  Cale Hall and O'Malley both ended the game with two hits in five attempts with Hall scoring a run and a RBI, while O'Malley also scored a run and two RBI.  

Freshman Ben West (Stanton, Mich./Central Montcalm) started on the mound and pitched four and two-thirds innings allowing three runs on seven hits and had five strikeouts in a no decision.  Sophomore Shawn Ligocki (West Chicago, Ill./St. Charles East) pitched a third-of-an-inning in relief before being replaced by freshman Kyle Robinson (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) who finished the game and got the win after giving up a lone unearned run on one hit to go along with two strikeouts in four innings pitched.

In the early game that was postponed from yesterday due to snow, Trine took the lead with a run in the top of the second inning when Ricci drove in a run on a single that scored Rivet.

The Thunder got another run in the fourth that came off the bat of Ricci again, this time on a run-scoring double to increase the margin to 2-0.  

Alma later cut the Trine lead in half with a run in the bottom of sixth on a single that made the score, 2-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Scots got the potential game-tying run on base with one out, but Trine sophomore pitcher Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) who came on prior to the Alma runner getting on base, got the Scots to hit into back-to-back outs to end the game and preserve a 2-1 victory for the Thunder.

Both teams recorded just three hits with two of Trine's hits coming from Ricci who finshed two-of-three and had two RBI.  O'Malley had the other hit and was one-of-three overall and also scored a run.

Despite the conditions, sophomore Mike Gustin (Hudson, Ind./Prairie Heights) had a solid outing giving up just an unearned run and two hits, while striking out five batters to claim the win.  Deiter came on to pitch the final inning and got the save after allowing just a hit.

Trine will look to keep the momentum going when it hosts Olivet (Mich.) College on Saturday, Apr. 14 in a MIAA series-opening doubleheader at Jannen Field. The first game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.