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Baseball Splits at Hope on Saturday - Takes Three of Four In Series

Saturday, April 04, 2009

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HOLLAND—Calvin suffered its second walk off loss in the MIAA this season as the Knights split a pair of games with Hope Saturday at Boeve Stadium, dropping the first game 6-5 and winning the second game 7-1. The Knights, who swept a twin bill against the Flying Dutchmen at Calvin on Thursday, won their second-straight MIAA series.

“Hope is a good team and this is a tough place to play,” Coach John Sparks said. “We came into today thinking if we split and get three of four we’re doing pretty well and if we can sweep it would awesome.”

The Knights (9-9 overall, 6-2 MIAA) fell to third place in the league standings. Adrian (9-1) swept Kalamazoo to extend its first place lead and Olivet (7-1) took a pair from Trine to take sole possession of second place.

Hope’s Jon Ponte cracked a walk-off single that scored Robby Poll and Dustin Wuis in game one. The Flying Dutchmen trailed 5-3 in the sixth inning, but scored a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings to nab the comeback win.

Nate Pocock (Wayland, MA/ Wayland) went into the seventh inning in his MIAA debut and first start of the season, surrendering six runs- five earned- on nine hits, struck out three and walked two in game one.

Pocock, last year’s MIAA Most Valuable Pitcher, had been dealing with an injury, keeping him out of the rotation until Saturday. Pocock led Calvin a year ago with an 8-2 record, earning a 3.25 ERA and striking out 61.

“It’s really good to have him back,” Sparks said. “I thought Nate pitched very well especially for his first real conference outing and given that he has had arm problems. I thought he threw pretty well - good enough to win.”

Chris Blacklidge (Comstock Park/Comstock Park) blasted a two-run homerun in the fifth inning. Blacklidge went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Knights.

Calvin’s top three hitters in the lineup- Kyle Gurzynski (Ludington/Ludington), Kyle Cousins (Holland/Holland Christian) and Matt Schepel (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) combined to go 5 for 12 with three runs scored and two RBIs in game one.

Blacklidge scored on Jason May’s (Chicago/Walther Lutheran) fielder’s choice to put the Knights on the board in the second inning. Schepel’s two run single put Calvin up 3-0 in the third inning.

Trailing 5-2 in the sixth, Wyatt Curry and Scott Snyder each had an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-4. A single, walk and an error loaded the bases with zero outs in the seventh. Ponte responded with the walk off single to left field.

Keith Spoelstra (Oakland, NJ/Eastern Christian) threw a gem and the Knights offense pounded 10 hits and scored in each of the last four innings to win 7-1 in game two.

“I thought we came out with a chip on our shoulders in game number two and that made me feel pretty good,” Sparks said. “We really fought hard the second game. We didn’t lay down after that tough loss (in game one), but came back like a good team should.”

Spoelstra went the distance, scattering five hits, giving up one earned run, walking two and striking out four.

“I just tried throw strikes and get ahead (in the count),” Spoelstra said. “Coach Vreisenga was the mastermind behind my pitch count and the defense just played great. The infield was phenomenal. Cousins made a nice play (in the outfield) and Tyler Berger made another great catch.”

Spoelstra won his second-straight MIAA start. The 6-0 sophomore gave up one earned run in four and two-thirds innings and struck out seven against Kalamazoo on March 30 at Calvin.

“I had a lot of kinks (to work out) in Arizona,” Spoelstra said. “Coach Vreisenga has been working with me. I think we finally found a rhythm so hopefully we can keep it going.”

May went 3 for 3 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored and Gurzynski continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Schepel, Berger and Matt Dodrill also scored runs for Calvin.

Calvin will take a five day break before hosting a twin bill with Alma on Friday. Alma (1-5 MIAA) split a pair of games with Albion (4-4 MIAA) at Alma on Saturday.

Keith Spoelstra Audio Interview

John Sparks Audio Interview

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