Baseball Wins Opening Doubleheader Against Hope With Pair of Walk-Offs

Baseball Wins Opening Doubleheader Against Hope With Pair of Walk-Offs

ANGOLA, IND.  --  The Trine University baseball team took the first two games of a four-game series against Hope College with a pair of walk-off victories in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association doubleheader at Jannen Field in Angola, Ind.

The Thunder captured game one in extra innings and scored four answered runs to end the game that included a run-scoring double by senior Colton Conn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Trine a 5-4 win.  

Hope (10-16, 8-8 MIAA) scored the first run of the game in the top of the first, but Trine (15-15, 9-9 MIAA) answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the second when freshman Nick Bonifant (Heath, Ohio/Heath) hit a single to left field that scored sophomore Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) to make it a 1-1 game.

The Flying Dutchmen regained the lead in their next at-bats and platted two runs on a RBI-single and RBI-double to take a 3-1 advantage.  Hope then added another run in the top of the fifth with a solo homerun to increase the margin to 4-1.

In the Trine half of the sixth inning, Trine got a run on a defensive error and later scored two more runs when freshman Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) hit a single with bases loaded and scored junior Zachary Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) and Bonifant to even the game at 4-4.

Neither team scored a run in the final inning of regulation, sending the game into extras.  Following a scoreless top of the eighth by Hope despite getting a runner to second base, Schulte led off the Thunder half of the frame with a walk and was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Jacob Douglass (Frankfort, Ind./Western).  In the very next at-bat, Conn connected on a double that found space in left-center field and allowed Schulte to score from second to give Trine the 5-4 win.

Trine had one player record multiple hits in game one in Rivet who went two-of-four and scored a pair of runs.  Bonifant finished one-of-three with a run scored and a RBI and Devine finished a perfect one-of-one with his only plate appearance being a pinch hit that drove in two runs.  Conn also had a hit and had two RBI.  Schulte did not record an official at-bat after entering the game as a pinch runner and then later walked, but did score two runs, that included the game-winner.

On the mound, sophomore Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) would end up as the pitcher of record and claimed the victory after pitching just a third of an inning allowing no runs or hits.  Senior Ben Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Central) started the game and went seven and two-thirds innings giving up four runs, two earned, on eight hits and struck out six batters in a no decision.

The magic from the first game carried over into game two for Trine as the Thunder came back to tie and take the lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning that ended with a pinch hit walk-off single by sophomore Jake Roddy (Angola, Ind./Angola) that gave the home team a 7-6 win.  

Also coming up big at the plate for Trine in the nightcap was the duo of senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central) and Rivet.  O'Malley tallied three hits that included a pair of doubles, and drove in three runs in addition to scoring a run.  Rivet had two hits in three at-bats to go along with a run scored and two RBI.

Trine crossed home plate twice in the bottom of the first inning with O'Malley's first double of the game and then connected again on a second double in the third that added a run to make the score, 3-0.  Later in the third, the Thunder scored again on a run-scoring single by Rivet to make it a 4-0 game after three innings of play.

Hope cut the deficit in half with two runs in the top of the fourth and then took the lead with a three-run top of the sixth inning to take a 5-4 edge. 

The Dutchmen continued their scoring streak with an insurance run in the seventh on a RBI-single with a runner at second base to make it a 6-4 game.  In the bottom of the inning, Trine began the frame with two quick outs, but then a base hit by junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) began a string of five straight hits for the Thunder, all singles, with runs scoring on base knocks by Rivet and sophomore Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) to tie the game at 6-6.  After a pitching change by Hope following the Ricci RBI, Roddy came into the game as a pinch hitter and put a ball just over the reach of the Dutchmen third baseman and out into left field which allowed Rivet to score from second base for the 7-6 final.

Trine totaled 12 hits in the game, led by O'Malley and Rivet.  Junior Cale Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) also had a multi-hit game and was two-of-three overall with a run scored.  Ricci's only hit of the game came in the bottom of the seventh (one-of-four overall) which also drove in the game-tying run for a RBI.  Roddy's plate appearance in the seventh was his lone one of the game and was one-of-one with a RBI.

Deiter again ended up as the pitcher of record in game two and claimed his second win of the day after pitching one and two-thirds innings, allowing just a run on three hits and had one strikeout.  Freshman Ben West (Stanton, Mich./Central Montcalm) started the game and went three-and-a-third innings allowing two runs on two hits and struck out one batter.

Senior Dylan Hutchison (Montpelier, Ohio/North Central) pitched a perfect inning and two-thirds in relief and had three strikeouts.  Freshman Kyle Robinson (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) also saw action and pitched a third of an inning and gave up three runs, one earned, on three hits.

Trine will travel to Holland, Mich. tomorrow (Saturday, Apr. 21) to wrap-up the four-game series against Hope with a second MIAA twinbill that is slated to begin at 1 p.m.