ALBION, MICH. -- The Trine University baseball team traveled to Albion, Mich. to begin the final four-game series of the season and took a two-game split against the Britons in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association doubleheader at Champions Stadium.
In game one, Albion (20-17, 15-11 MIAA) plated runs in the bottom of the first, second and fourth innings to lead, 3-0. Both of the Britons' runs in the first and second came on run-scoring doubles and then a triple in the fourth. Trine (15-23, 8-18 MIAA) then scored three unanswered runs that began with a pair of scores in the top of the fifth inning on a fielder's choice with bases loaded and senior Zach Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) at the plate that also included a defensive error on the same play that also allowed a second run to score and cut the deficit to a run, 3-2.
In the next Thunder at-bats, the game-tying run crossed home plate in the sixth thanks to another defensive error late in the inning with runners on first and second base. Junior Jacob Douglass (Frankfort, Ind./Western) came around from second to score the run and evened the game at 3-3. In the bottom half of the inning, Albion regained the lead with a run that came on a RBI-single to put the Britons back out in front, 4-3.
The Albion run would prove to be the difference maker as Trine could not get any runs in the top of the seventh that included a play at the plate that could have evened the game, but resulted in an out, en route to Albion hanging on for the one-run victory.
Trine recorded three hits in the opener with senior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) going one-of-two. Freshman Brenden Warner (Richland, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) and junior Jake Roddy (Angola, Ind./Angola) both had a hit in three at-bats with Warner also adding a run scored. Schulte finished hitless in the game in two official at-bats, but did drive in the lone run on the fielder's choice. Douglass, who came on as a pinch runner, finished the game with a run scored for his only stat of the game.
Freshman Bryce Bloode (New Carlisle, Ind./New Prairie) started at pitcher for Trine and went four and two-thirds innings in a no decision after allowing three runs on six hits and had one strikeout. Junior Tony Bottone (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) pitched a scoreless third of an inning in relief before being replaced by sophomore Drew Cebulak (Oakmont, Pa./Central Catholic) who finished the game and gave up just one run on two hits in a full inning of work.
Trine totaled 16 hits in game two, but it was Albion who'd score the first runs of the game that began with a run in the bottom of the first and followed by two more runs in the second to lead, 3-0.
The Thunder got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning with two runs that came on a pair of RBI-singles by junior Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) and sophomore Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage). Trine then tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the fifth thanks to a run-scoring double by Heller. But Albion quickly regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 4-3 ball game.
The Britons then added another score in their half of the sixth on a sacrifice fly to increase the margin to 5-3.
The deficit remained a pair of runs heading into the top of the ninth that started with a lead-off single by junior Chase Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) that also included a defensive error that put him into scoring position at second base. Douglass would come on to run for Chase Hall and during the very next Trine at-bat, Douglass scored on another Albion error, this time on a sacrifice bunt attempt and made it a one-run game, 5-4. Junior Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Howell) followed the run with a single that that advanced the runner who was safe on the previous at-bat to third base. The run then came home on a third defensive error and tied the game at 5-5 before the final out of the inning was made.
In the bottom of the ninth, Albion got a runner to third base as the result of a walk, a sacrifice bunt and then a wild pitch. Following back-to-back intentional walks to load the bases, the Trine defense recorded the final two outs it needed to end the inning without giving up the game-winning run and sent the game into extras.
In the top of the 10th, Trine plated three runs thanks to a two-run triple by Rivet with runners at first and second base and then followed by a RBI-single by sophomore Joe Fiorucci (St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph) that put the Thunder ahead, 8-5. In Albion's half of the frame, the Britons got a runner into scoring position on a double after a flyout that began the inning. Two batters later, an Albion single put runners at the corners that was proceeded by a strikeout to put two outs on the board. One run scored on an ensuing base hit, but the final out came on another flyout before any additional runs could score, sealing the victory for Trine, 8-6, and the two-game split.
Fiorucci led all Trine batters with a game-tying high three hits in six attempts. He also scored a pair of runs in addition to two RBI. Devine ended the game two-of-five to go along with a RBI, while the trio of Rivet, Heller and Chase Hall all went two-of-six at the plate. Rivet also added a run scored and two RBI, while Heller scored a run and a RBI. Five other players each recorded a hit in the game, including Douglass who was one-for-one in addition to scoring two runs. Ricci finished one-of-three to go along with his RBI.
Sophomore Drew Bradford (Huntington, Ind./Whitko) started on the mound in game two and pitched five complete innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits and had four strikeouts. Sophomore Kyle Robinson (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) pitched three-and-a-third innings of relief and gave up no runs and just two hits with a pair of strikeouts. Junior Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) pitched the final inning and two-thirds and ended up with the win to improve to 5-1 on the year. He allowed just a run on three hits and struck out two batters.
Trine will wrap-up the season on Sunday, May 5 with a final doubleheader against Albion at Jannen Field in Angola, Ind. It will also be senior day with the first game scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.