DANVILLE, KY. -- The Trine University baseball team began its 2020 campaign with a split in a pair of nine-inning games against Hanover College and Centre (Ky.) College at Gary Wright Field in Danville, Ky. The Thunder fell to Hanover, 9-3, to start the day, but came away with a 9-3 win against Centre.
In the game against Hanover, the Panthers struck for a five-run top of the second inning after a scoreless opening frame to take a sizeable advantage. Trine (1-1) made a dent in the deficit by plating three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning that started with a RBI-single by sophomore Brenden Warner (Richland, Mich./Hackett Catholic Prep). Two batters later, a single by junior Shayne Devine (Valparaiso, Ind./Portage) loaded the bases and was followed by a base hit by fellow junior Joe Fiorucci (St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph) in the next at-bat and scored a pair of runs to make it a 5-3 game.
Hanover answered the three runs by Trine with two scores in the top of the fifth and went on to add two more runs in the seventh as Trine was held scoreless the remainder of the game, allowing the Panthers to come away with a 9-3 victory.
Trine posted eight hits in the game with one multi-hit performance in A.J. Mitchell (Emmett, Mich./Kellogg CC) who went two-of-four and also scored a run. Fiorucci finished with a hit in three attempts to go along with a RBI. Warner and Devine also both went one-of-three at the plate and Warner also added a run scored and RBI.
On the mound, senior Shawn Ligocki (West Chicago, Ill./St. Charles East) started the game and pitched three innings, but would end up with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits and had five strikeouts. Senior Tony Bottone (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) came on in relief and pitched two innings giving up a pair of runs on three hits and struck out two batters. Junior Drew Cebulak (Oakmont, Pa./Central Catholic) pitched the final four innings and allowed two unearned runs with one hit and tallied eight strikeouts.
Against Centre, the game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when Trine scored a pair of runs on a two-RBI double by senior Nick Ricci (Hebron, Ind./Crown Point). Centre answered in the bottom of the fifth with two runs of its own on a RBI-double and single to even the score at 2-2.
The Thunder regained the lead in the sixth that began with a lead-off double by Mitchell, but he was thrown out at home three batters later on a single by Warner to right field. Following the Warner single, a defensive error allowed senior Jake Roddy (Angola, Ind./Angola) to score from third base. Devine then hit a single to the outfield that plated Warner who got on base via a single of his own earlier in the inning. The third run scored on another defensive error that scored Ricci and made it a 5-2 game after six innings.
Trine added to its lead with two runs in the top of the eighth and ninth innings thanks to run-scoring base hits by seniors Thomas Rivet (Howell, Mich./Hartland) and Chase Hall (Orleans, Ind./Orleans) in the eighth and then Fiorucci drove in a run on a single and later scored on a throwing error to make the score 9-2.
Centre made some noise in the bottom of the ninth inning with a run on a sacrifice fly with runners on first and third base. The Colonels later got bases loaded, but with two outs on the scoreboard. Trine was able to limit the damage by getting the final out before any additional runs could score as the Thunder went on to the 9-3 final.
Trine had 12 hits against Centre with Mitchell going three-of-four in addition to scoring a run. Ricci had two hits in five appearances at the plate and scored a pair of runs to go along with two RBI. Seven other players each recorded a hit, including Roddy who was one-of-four and scored a run. Rivet was one-of-six with his RBI and Fiorucci went one-of-three with a run scored and RBI. Warner finished one-of-three and scored a game-high three runs.
Sophomore Bryce Bloode (New Carlisle, Ind./New Prairie) started at pitcher for the Thunder and went five complete innings allowing two runs on six hits and had one strikeout. Junior Kyle Robinson (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) replaced Bloode to pitch three innings and gave up just one hit and struck out two batters. Senior Caleb Deiter (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland Community) pitched the final inning and allowed one run on one hit.
Trine will take on Centre again tomorrow (Sunday, Feb. 23) in a single, nine-inning game at Gary Wright Field. The game is set to start at 1:30 p.m.
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