WINTER HAVEN, Fla.-- After dropping the game one, the Trine baseball team responded to defeat Wittenberg in game two to earn a split Tuesday in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
A three-run seventh led the Tigers to the 4-2 victory in game one. The Thunder responded by breaking out the bats in game two to earn an 11-5 victory. Colton Conn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill), Kory Shackle (Butler, Ohio/Mount Vernon) and J.J. LaBounty (Avon, Ind./Covenant Christian) each tallied four hits on the day. Cal Slusarz notched a five-hit day and knocked in three runs for Wittenberg. The split moved Trine's overall record to 2-3 on the year. Wittenberg's record is an even 2-2.
Game One: Wittenberg 4, Trine 2
The Thunder got a strong pitching effort, but a three-run seventh gave the Tigers the victory in the opener.
Vinny Slobodecki (Carol Stream, Ill/Glenbard North) worked six-plus innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. The junior struck out five. Two Wittenberg hurlers combined to outduel Slobodecki however, as Tanner Combs picked up the win with 2.2 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief work.
Ben Pritchett (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) notched a two-hit day and scored Trine's first run on a wild pitch. Conn added an RBI-single to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
Slusarz singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh and later scored as the Tigers rallied back to earn the victory in the seventh.
Game Two: Trine 11, Wittenberg 5
Three big innings from the Thunder bats, as well as strong work from two relievers led Trine to the game two victory.
Zachary Schulte's (Sterling Heights, Mich./Warren Cousino) first-career RBI highlighted a two-run second. Schulte knocked in the run with a groundout to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers regained the lead with single runs in the second and third, but the Thunder answered with four runs in the fourth. Robert Ross (Valapraiso, Ind./Washington Township) came through with his second big pinch-hit in as many days, knocking in two runs with a triple. LaBounty and Shackle each added run-scoring hits in the inning.
Wittenberg rallied to cut the score to 6-5 with a run in each of the next two innings. Slusarz picked up his last RBI of the day to cut the score to 6-5 after six.
A five-run seventh for Trine put the game out of reach. A bases-loaded walk drawn by Morgan Sims (Coldwater, Mich./Coldwater) made it a two-run game. A two-run single by Drew Palmer (Hartford, Wis./Hartford Union) extended the lead, before a two-out, two-run double by Zach Thorn (Portage, Ind./Portage) put the game out of reach.
The Thunder get a day off before returning to action Thursday against UMASS-Boston at 4:15 p.m.