ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University baseball team captured the second game of a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association doubleheader against Alma (Mich.) College by way of a walk-off base hit to split the opening twinbill of a four-game series against the Scots at Jannen Field in Angola, Ind.
Junior Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) connected on a base hit to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning in the nightcap that scored teammate Stevie Sieczkowski (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Technical) from second base to give Trine a 5-4 victory. Earlier in the game, senior Zach Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) hit a three-run home run that gave the Thunder the game's first lead.
Schulte's homer came in the bottom of the third inning of game number two and began the scoring by both teams as Trine (9-11, 2-6 MIAA) led early, 3-0. The Thunder got another run in the fourth inning thanks to a RBI-double by Schulte to increase the margin to 4-0.
Alma (7-15, 3-7 MIAA) erased the four-run deficit in the top of the fifth that was aided by a series of defensive errors and tied the game at 4-4. In the ninth, the Scots began the frame with a lead-off single and got the runner into scoring position with an ensuing stolen base. After back-to-back outs, the runner then advanced to third on a wild pitch before the scoring threat came to an end on a ground out. Trine began the bottom of the ninth with a single by sophomore Joe Fiorucci (St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph) who was then replaced by Sieczkowski as a pinch runner. Following a sacrifice bunt that put Sieczkowski in scoring position, Rivet delivered on the game-winning base knock to give the Thunder the 5-4 victory.
The Trine hitters finished with nine hits in the game with Schulte finishing two-of-three with a run scored and four RBI. Sophomore Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) also had a pair of hits and went two-of-four overall. Five other players each recorded a base hit, including Rivet who was one-of-five to go along with his RBI. Fiorucci ended the game one-of-four.
On the mound, junior Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) ended up with the win after pitching the final inning-and-a-third and gave up just a lone hit in addition to striking out one batter. Sophomore Drew Bradford (Huntington, Ind./Whitko) started the game and finished with a no decision after going four-and-a-third innings and allowed four runs, one earned, on two hits and had one strikeout. Sophomore Kyle Robinson (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) replaced Bradford and pitched three-and-a-third solid innings in relief with no runs allowed and just three hits, while striking out six batters before handing things over to Deiter.
In game one, Alma came away with a 6-4 victory, despite a rally by Trine that came up just short in the seventh inning. Both teams traded runs in the first inning with Trine's run the result of a fielder's choice on a bunt attempt by Rivet and plated Devine from third base.
The Scots grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs to make it a 3-1 game. Alma added to its lead with a run in the sixth, but Trine answered in its half of the inning when freshman Brendan Warner (Richland, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) singled to left center in a pitch opportunity and kept the Thunder to within two runs, 4-2.
Alma then looked to seal the victory in the ninth with a pair of scores that increased the margin to 6-2. Trine opened the bottom of the ninth with three-straight hits beginning with a single by senior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights), then a double by Rivet which was followed by a single by senior Cale Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) that scored Heller to make it a 6-3 game. Two batters later, junior Chase Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) found the outfield with a run scoring single to center field to pull Trine to within a pair of runs, 6-4. But the two scores came with two outs on the board and the Scots would get the final out of the game on a strikeout to get the two-run victory.
Trine posted 11 hits in game one with Chase Hall going three-of-four to go along with a RBI. Heller was the only other Trine player to have multiple hits and finished two-of-three in addition to a run scored. Warner and Cale Hall were two of six other players to record a base hit with Warner going one-of-one with a RBI and Cale Hall was one-of-four with a RBI.
Freshman Bryce Blood (New Carlisle, Ind./New Prairie) started the game on the hill for Trine, but suffered the loss after pitching three and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs on four hits, but struck out three batters. Sophomore Drew Cebulak (Oakmont, Pa./Central Catholic) pitched two-and-a-third innings in relief and gave up just a run on two hits and had a strikeout. Junior Tony Bottone (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) pitched the final inning and gave up two runs on two hits to go along with a strikeout.
Trine is scheduled to wrap-up the four-game MIAA series tomorrow (Sunday, Apr. 7) with the final doubleheader against Alma. The first game is slated to start at 1 p.m. in Alma, Mich.