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Baseball Splits With Alma Friday Afternoon

Friday, April 10, 2009

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Box Scores & Statistics

GRAND RAPIDS – The Knights finally rose above the .500 mark on Friday afternoon – though, only for about two hours.

After Calvin snubbed Alma’s late-inning comeback in Game One, the Scots’ Sam Shipman (3-2) threw a complete-game shutout in the second en route to a 4-0 victory over the third-place Knights (10-10, 7-3).

Calvin’s Ben Sietsema (Ada/Northpointe Christian) picked up his fourth win of the season in Game One, where the Knights used a four-run second inning to catalyze a 6-5 win. But Alma held Calvin to 11 consecutive scoreless innings, and the Knights were saddled by six combined errors on a windy afternoon at Calvin Field.

“It was a disappointing game, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint,” said Calvin head coach John Sparks.

Peter Steiner (Chicago, Ill./Glenbrook South) was riddled with his first collegiate loss in Game Two. He hurled a complete game, allowing six hits and just two earned runs. The two unearned runs resulted from a pair of infield errors.

Alma’s Jeremy Stephens, who averaged .491 at the plate entering Friday, drove in a run-scoring single in the third inning, while Craig Brohl laid down a sacrifice bunt in the sixth to account for the Scots’ final earned run of the game.

“We know we shouldn’t drop games like this,” said Nate Pocock (Wayland, Mass./Wayland). “At times, every part of our team has been inconsistent – hitting, pitching. So we know we need to put together complete games.”

Calvin committed a season-worst five errors in Game Two. The Knights combined to hit just 5-of-24 (.208) from the plate as Kyle Cousins (Holland/Holland Christian) was the lone batter to turn in a multi-hit performance, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

In Game One, Cousins similarly paced Calvin with a 2-for-4 outing, belting a single in the first and a double in the Knights’ second-inning scoring spurt. Kyle Gurzynski (Ludington/Ludington) had a sac fly RBI in foul territory to start the inning and Matt Schepel (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) crushed a two-RBI double to score both Cousins and freshman Jake Van Alten (Douglas/Holland Christian).

Alma crawled back in the sixth when Bobby Chasney and Jay Sackett each ripped RBI singles to cut Calvin’s lead to 6-5, but Zach Thomas (Bradenton, Fla./Bradenton Christian) recorded his first collegiate save by retiring three Scots in the seventh to secure Sietsema’s win.

“That’s been an area of concern recently, starting hot and cooling off,” said Pocock, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI-single in Game One. “We don’t seem to get runs later in games. I think that the team knows what we have to do.”

Sietsema (4-1) was shelled for 11 hits in the opener, although he dished out a season best six strikeouts. Steiner (3-1), on the other hand, fanned two and walked two as the Scots put a dent in his 11-0 all-time record heading into Friday.

“Peter pitched well enough to win, that’s for sure,” said Sparks. “You take a way the defensive miscues, we score a few runs, and we probably win the game.”

Calvin will travel to Alma tomorrow to wrap up its season series with the Scots in a doubleheader that begins at 1:00 p.m.

“We still have a chance to win this series, although the second loss was disappointing,” said Sparks. “We kind of have to regroup and put that one behind us now, and go up there tomorrow ready to get a couple.”
“If we can keep winning series, we at least give ourselves a chance in a series with Adrian and Olivet, to do some damage.”

John Sparks Audio Interview

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