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Baseball Splits With Trine on Saturday

Saturday, April 18, 2009

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Box Scores and Results

Calvin baseball’s bid for its first conference sweep came up short Saturday afternoon at Calvin Field as the Knights (14-12, 11-5 MIAA) split with Trine (7-20, 3-13 MIAA).

Calvin’s sixth inning rally gave the Knights an 8-6 come-from-behind win in game one. But the Knights only managed three hits off of Trine starting pitcher Cameron Heckley in the second game and fell 5-1.

“When you win the first three games, you think you have a decent shot to (get the sweep),” coach John Sparks said. “We didn’t get the job done today from an offensive stand point (in game two).

The Knights won their third conference series of the year, but needed a sweep of Trine to get back into the chase for the MIAA conference title. Calvin sits four games behind first-place Adrian and second-place Olivet in the loss column.

Adrian (23-7, 17-1 MIAA) swept Hope to move into sole possession of first place in the MIAA standings. Olivet (17-8, 13-1 MIAA) will attempt to sweep Alma tomorrow to keep pace. Calvin will face Adrian on Thursday and Saturday and Olivet the following week.

In game one, Kyle Cousin’s (Holland/Holland Christian) RBI triple that scored Kyle Gurzynski (Ludington/Ludington) and Matt Schepel’s (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) sacrifice fly that scored Cousins gave the Knights an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the sixth.

“We did a nice job hanging in there and getting a couple clutch hits,” Sparks said. “I thought the hit and run with Kyle Cousins was really big and got that inning going for us and we were able to push a couple runs across.”

Peter Steiner (Chicago, IL/Glenbrook South) pitched four innings and gave up six runs, three of which were earned. Steiner surrendered seven hits, walked three and struck out one. Calvin’s defense committed five errors behind the starting pitcher.

Brett Cavanaugh (Muskegon/Western Michigan Christian), Joe Lambers (Grosse Point/Grosse Point South), Rob Kool (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) and Jeff Groenewold (Chicago, IL/Timothy Christian) combined for three innings of scoreless relief.

“The bullpen did a nice job today,” Sparks said. “They all did a good job and came ready to throw. That’s good to see.”

Kool (1-1) picked up the win after pitching out of a jam in the top of the sixth and Groenewold earned the save. Steiner (3-1) earned a no decision. Chad Nichter gave up six runs, all earned, in five innings for Trine. Zach Bour was credited with the loss after surrendering two runs in the sixth.

Cousins went one-for-three with a pair of RBIs and runs scored to lead Calvin at the plate. Jason May (Chicago, IL/Walther Lutheran) also had a big day offensively going two-for-three with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Seven different Knight hitters combined for Calvin’s eight hits in the game.

In game two, Heckley was masterful for Trine. The 6-0 lefty pitched a complete game three-hitter and surrendered only one run. Heckley picked up his first win of the season striking out three and walking only one.

“He’s a traditional soft lefty,” Sparks said. “Give him credit for a good job. He doesn’t throw really hard, but he threw strikes, spotted up and kept us off balance with a decent breaking ball that he threw for a strike. It seemed like we were kind of baffled by it.”

Trine scored three runs in the top of the first inning to put Calvin in an early hole. The Thunder tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 5-1. Calvin never was able to threaten a comeback. The Knights stranded five runners.

“You hope (hitters) don’t press that early in the game (after getting down),” Sparks said. “But since we’ve struggled a little bit and when you give up that early lead we kind of have the tendency to do that.”

Calvin’s Keith Spoelstra (Oakland, NJ/Eastern Christian) lasted five innings giving up seven hits and five runs, three of which were earned. Spoelstra struck out one and walked four. Calvin committed two errors in the game. Derick Vargas (Hialeah, FL/American Senior High) and Lambers pitched two innings of scoreless relief.

“You hold them to five runs in the second game and you think that should be good enough to at least give you a chance at the end of the game,” Sparks said. “It just didn’t happen.”

Calvin will host Davenport in a nine inning game on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Knights will continue MIAA play on Thursday when they travel to first-place Adrian. Calvin hosts the Bulldogs on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Calvin/Trine Photo Gallery

John Sparks Audio Interview

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