WINTER HAVEN, FLA. -- The Trine University baseball team wrapped-up its annual trip to Florida with a two-game split against King's (Pa.) College in Winter Haven, Fla. The Thunder lost the first game, 5-3, but won the nightcap, 14-7.
In game one, King's (1-5) grabbed the first lead with a run in the top of the second inning. But Trine (5-3) answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third as the result of a ground-rule double by junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) and a sacrifice fly by senior Kevin O'Malley (Commerce Twp., Mich./Walled Lake Central) that made the score 2-1.
The Thunder tacked on another run in the fourth thanks to a defensive error with a runner on third base to increase the margin to 3-1.
The Monarchs later regained the lead with four unanswered runs that included a run in the sixth and then three more runs in the seventh to lead, 5-3. Trine got a pair of base runners in their half of the ninth inning, but could not get either run across home plate before the final out was recorded as King's held on for the two-run victory.
Trine had 10 hits in game one, led by the duo of Heller and O'Malley who both went two-of-three and both also scored a RBI. Senior Colton Conn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) also had two hits in the game and was two-of-four overall.
Senior Ben Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Central) started on the hill for Trine and pitched six-and-a-third innings, but would suffer the loss after allowing five runs, three earned, but had five strikeouts. Freshman Adam Wheaton (Kalamazoo, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep) pitched the final two-thirds of an inning and gave up no runs on two hits and struck out one batter.
In game two, Trine got on the board first with a run that came on a wild pitch with bases loaded in the top of the first inning. King's responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to lead, 3-1, after the first.
The Thunder took the lead in the second with six runs that included a three-RBI triple by Conn. Freshman Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) and O'Malley both added RBI-base hits in the offensive burst that gave Trine a 7-3 advantage. King's got a run back in the bottom of the second, but the Trine bats kept the offense coming with three more runs in the top of the third on a two-RBI double by sophomore Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) and sacrifice fly by junior Jacob Heller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Prairie Heights) to make the score 10-4.
Trine added three more runs in the fourth with a RBI-single by Rivet and a two-RBI single by Devine, followed by another run in the fifth on a Conn base hit that scored O'Malley as part of a 7-0 scoring streak and made it a 14-4 advantage for Trine. The Monarchs plated two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to cut into the deficit, 14-7.
The runs by King's would be the final runs of the game as the Thunder doubled-up their opponents with the final score of 14-7.
Trine had 22 hits in the game with O'Malley finishing four-of-five with two runs scored and a RBI. Sophomore Jacob Douglass (Frankfort, Ind./Western) was a perfect four-of-four and scored three runs.
Conn and junior Stephen Sieczkowski (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Technical) both had three hits with Conn going three-of-five with four RBI and Sieczkowski was three-of-four with three runs scored.
Rivent, Devine and sophomore Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point) all posted two-of-five efforts at the plate to round out the multi-hitters. Rivet also added two runs scored and three RBI, while Devine scored a run to go along with three RBI and Ricci had a run scored.
Sophomore Tony Bottone (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) started the game at pitcher for Trine and went two-thirds of an inning allowing three runs, one earned, and struck out one batter. Freshman Conner Dove (St. Joe, Ind./Eastside) came on in relief and ended up as the pitcher of record after pitching three-and-a-third innings giving up just a run on five hits and had one strikeout. He also claimed the win, his first of his collegiate career.
Trine will return to Indiana and travel to Greencastle on Saturday, Mar. 17 for a pair of games beginning with a matchup against DePauw University that is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. The Thunder will then take on Loras (Iowa) College at 3:30 p.m.