Baseball Sweeps Kalamazoo in Saturday Doubleheader
Saturday, March 28, 2009
By Chaz Amidon
GRAND RAPIDS – Ben Sietsema proved how valuable he is on the mound. Nate Pocock and Kyle Cousins proved how valuable they can be when they aren’t.
Sietsema (1-1) pitched a complete-game shutout in the Knights’ 6-0 drubbing of Kalamazoo in Game One of their conference opener, and Pocock drove home the winning run as Calvin edged the Hornets 4-3 in the second.
Both beleaguered by minor arm injuries, Pocock and Cousins combined to bat 4-of-12 from the plate and ignited the Knights’ fourth inning comeback in Game Two.
“The two of us have been hampered with injuries, but we’ve got total faith with the guys who are on the mound,” said Pocock. “We know that our primary role is pitching, but we’re doing what we can to get some good at-bats and luckily the hits fell today.”
Trailing 3-2 in the second game, Cousins rapped an RBI-double to deep left-centerfield, scoring Chris Dykstra to erase Kalamazoo’s lead.
Two batters later, and after Cousins advanced to third on a Matt Schepel groundout, Pocock sent a single into shallow centerfield to bring home Cousins and give Calvin the lead for good.
“They’ve both had some early (injury) problems, but both of them have done well at bat so far this year,” said Calvin coach John Spaks. “It’s nice to see them step up in a different role.”
Calvin (5-7, 2-0) cruised past the Hornets in Game One behind the arm of Sietsema, who picked up his first win of the season in his third start. He allowed just two hits, issued one walk and retired 20 of the 23 batters he faced.
Three of his four strikeouts came in the second inning when he struck out the side, and Kalamazoo never had more than one runner on base throughout.
“It’s definitely nice how you can go down on spring break and get the kinks out,” said Sietsema. “It helps when you have a great defense behind you.
“The big thing today was me spotting my fastball. That was what made everything else easier.”
Chris Blacklidge continued his proficiency at the plate by going 2-for-2 in Game One, including a two-run homer that soared over the left field wall in the bottom of the third. He tallied three RBIs altogether, but went 0-for-1 – he was walked twice – in Game Two.
Jason May contributed a two-RBI double in the first game, while Tyler Berger cracked a run-scoring single. Berger, a freshman centerfielder, was the only player to record a pair of multi-hit games, going 2-for-3 in each win.
Peter Steiner (2-0), despite allowing five hits and three runs in the first two innings, overcame an early Kalamazoo hitting spree and pitched five straight scoreless innings in Game Two. He, like Sietsema, threw a complete seven-inning game.
The Knights will now travel to Kalamazoo on Monday (March 30) to wrap up their season series with the Hornets, a team Calvin swept to clinch the outright MIAA title in 2008.
“It’s really good to get back on the winning track,” said Sparks, whose team went 3-5 on their annual trip to the Russ Matt Invitational in Phoenix, Ariz. “We played a tough schedule down in Phoenix and hopefully we learned some things from that. It’s good to see the guys bounce back from a couple of tough losses.”