Thunder Take Series with Doubleheader Sweep of Olivet

Thunder Take Series with Doubleheader Sweep of Olivet

ANGOLA, IND.  --  The Trine University baseball team won both games of the final doubleheader of a four-game series against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opponent Olivet (Mich.) College at Jannen Field in Angola, Ind.  The Thunder won the first game, 9-0, and then won game two, 10-7.

Trine (13-15, 6-10 MIAA) took control of game one right from the start with back-to-back innings of four runs to begin the contest.  In the bottom of the first inning, junior Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) led off the frame with a double which was later followed by a pair of walks to load the bases with two outs.  Back-to-back singles by junior Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) and sophomore Joe Fiorucci (St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph) both plated two runs that put Trine ahead, 4-0, after the inning.

In the second, the Thunder put four more runs on the board.  After loading the bases in the first three at-bats of the inning, senior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) drove in the first run thanks to a sacrifice fly that allowed senior Zach Schulte (Sterling Heights, Mich/Warren Cousino) to score from third base.  During the very next at-bat, Ricci cleared the bases with a double to center field for three RBI and padded the Trine advantage to, 8-0.

The lead remained eight runs until the bottom of the sixth when Trine added another run on a run-scoring single by junior Jake Roddy (Angola, Ind./Angola) and scored sophomore Nick Bonifant (Heath, Ohio/Heath) who led off the inning with a double.  The run increased the margin to 9-0 which ended up being the final score despite Olivet (4-24, 2-14 MIAA) having runners on first and third in the top of the ninth inning.  Trine would get the Comets to hit into the game-ending out before any potential runs could cross home plate, sealing the nine-run victory.

Trine had 10 hits in game one with two players recording multiple hits that included Rivet who finished two-of-three with a pair of runs scored.  Ricci had two hits in four plate appearances and also scored a run to go along with five RBI.  Fiorucci was one of six other Thunder players to record a hit and was one-of-three overall with two RBI.  Heller ended the game one-of-two with a run scored and a RBI, while Schulte didn't record a hit in two official at-bats, but had a run scored.  Bonifant was one-of-three in adition to scoring two of Trine's runs.

Sophomore Adam Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) went the distance for Trine on the mound and picked up his third win of the season (3-2 overall) and his first shutout.  He allowed five hits on the afternoon and struck out a season and career-high 12 batters.  

In game two, Olivet took the early lead with a run in the top of the first inning.  But the lead didn't last long as Trine got two runs across home plate in the bottom in the inning that came on a RBI-single by Heller and then a sacrifice fly by fellow senior Cale Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) to make it a 2-1 game.

Trine added to its lead in the fourth with two more runs that were the result of RBI-base hits by junior Chase Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) and Rivet that extended the margin to 4-1.  The Comets got one of the runs back in the top of the fifth inning before the Thunder broke the game open with a six-run inning in the sixth.  Chase Hall and Rivet both tallied RBI-singles, while Heller hit a two-run double that was later followed by a two-run base hit by sophomore Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) that put Trine out ahead by eight runs, 10-2.

The Thunder looked to be headed to a convincing win, but Olivet made things interesting with five runs in the top of the eighth inning that got the Comets to within three runs, 10-7.  After a scoreless bottom of the eighth by Trine, junior Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) came on to pitch in the ninth and got two quick outs before a single to left field prolonged the inning for Olivet.  Deiter then got the next Comet hitter to pop up to the Trine shortstop for the final out of the game to seal the 10-7 final and claim his fourth save of the season.

The nightcap turned into a slugfest as the two teams combined for 27 hits.  Trine ended the game with 13 of those hits and was led at the plate by Chase Hall who was three-of-four with a pair of runs scored and RBI.  Heller went two-of-four to go along with a run scored and three RBI and the duo of Rivet and Ricci both finished with two hits in five at-bats.  Rivet also added two runs scored and two RBI, while Ricci scored two runs for the Thunder.  Devine's lone hit in the game was his two-run single and went one-of-five overall to go along with his RBI.

On the mound, junior Shawn Ligocki (West Chicago, Ill./St. Charles East) made the start and went five full innings to get the win.  He allowed just two runs on six hits and had two strikeouts.  He was one of four total pitchers to see playing time, including Deiter who allowed just the lone hit and had one strikeout in the save.

Trine will look to keep the momentum going when it travels to Holland, Mich. to take on Hope (Mich.) College in a MIAA four-game series that is scheduled to begin on Friday, Apr. 19.  The first game of the first doubleheader of the weekend is set for 2 p.m.

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