ANGOLA, IN - The Trine University baseball team came away with a two-game split to conclude a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association four-game series against Albion College at Jannen Field in Angola, Ind. The Thunder won the first game against the Britons, 14-1, but lost game two, 6-1.
The Trine (6-19, 6-10 MIAA) offense got off to an impressive start scoring runs in the first three innings in the first game of the afternoon, starting with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a defensive error with a runner on second base which was followed by a RBI-triple by sophomore Cory Erbskorn.
The Thunder added five more runs in the second inning thanks to a series of singles by senior Jake Conley, freshman Dalton Nikirk, senior A.J. Mitchell and Erbskorn. The final Trine run of the inning came on a run-down play that allowed junior Brenden Warner to cross home plate before the out was recorded and padded Trine's lead to 7-0.
In the bottom of the third inning, Trine plated six more runs that began with a run-scoring base hit by sophomore Matt Weis with a pair of runners on base. Two batters later and with bases loaded, Nikirk drove in two runs on a double and then scored during the next at-bat when Mitchell connected on a double of his own that allowed two more runs to cross home plate and make it a 12-0 game. The final run in the inning came on a fielder's choice by Erbskorn as the Thunder lead ballooned to 13-0 after three innings of play.
In the fifth inning, Trine scored its last run of the game on a solo homerun by Mitchell, his second of the season, to lead, 14-0. Albion (11-17, 7-11 MIAA) got a runner in scoring position in the top of the sixth inning as the result of a triple and then scored its only run of the game in its next at-bat on a sacrifice fly, but Trine's earlier lead was more than enough as the Thunder cruised to the 14-1 final.
The Trine bats totaled 17 hits in game one and had several players finish with multiple hits. Nikirk and Mitchell both recorded three hits and both finished three-of-four overall. Nikirk also scored three runs and had three RBI, while Mitchell added three runs scored and four RBI. Warner and junior Gary DeMartino had two hits in three plate appearances with Warner scoring a pair of runs and DeMartino had a run scored. Conley and Erbskorn rounded out the multi-hit performances with both going two-of-four. Conley scored two runs and drove in another and Erbskorn added three RBI.
Senior pitcher Adam Wheaton started on the mound and pitched a complete game allowing just the lone run on five hits and struck out seven batters.
In game two, Albion scored four straight runs with two in the top of the third inning and then added a run in both the fourth and fifth frames to lead, 4-0. Trine got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fifth that began with back-to-back singles by senior Joe Fiorucci and Conley. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners a base, Mitchell scored Fiorucci on a ground out that got the Thunder to within three runs, 4-1.
The final runs of the game came in the top of the seventh when the Britons scored on a triple which was followed by a sacrifice fly to increase the deficit to 6-1. Trine's seventh inning began with consecutive outs before a walk by Mitchell prolonged the inning and gave the Thunder a base runner. During the next plate appearance, however, Albion recorded the final defensive out to end the game and preserve a 6-1 win for the split.
Trine had three hits, all by three different players. Nikirk and Fiorucci both finished one-of-three and Fiorucci also scored the lone Trine run. Conley recorded the other hit and finished one-of-four overall.
On the mound, senior Drew Bradford started the game and went four and two-thirds innings giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits and struck out four batters. Freshman Kade Keele (Fort Wayne, Ind./New Haven) replaced Bradford and pitched an inning-and-a-third of relief and allowed no runs or hits to go along with a strikeout. Junior Byrce Bloode (New Carlisle, Ind./New Prairie) pitched the final inning and gave up two runs on two hits with one strikeout.
Trine opens a four-game set against Calvin University on Friday, Apr. 30 with a doubleheader in Grand Rapids, Mich. The first game of the twinbill is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.