Wheaton (Ill.) tops Baldwin Wallace on ninth inning rally

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Port Charlotte, Fla. - The Thunder baseball team earned a 5-4 victory over Baldwin Wallace on Monday afternoon at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida. Wheaton is now 3-3 on the season while the Yellow Jackets fall to 8-1 overall. Wheaton will continue its spring trip on Tuesday with a rematch against Heidelberg University at 12 pm (EST).

Entering the game averaging 12 runs per game, Christian Bolhuis held the Baldwin Wallace offense without a hit through the first four innings. With Bolhuis rolling on the mound, Wheaton's offense threatened to score in each of the first two innings with doubles from Jacob Zeller and Ben Brittain but could not crack the scoreboard. John McKenna's leadoff walk in the top of the third inning was followed by a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Trivits. Nick Mailman followed with a double to plate McKenna and give Wheaton the early 1-0 lead. Three walks in the bottom of the inning allowed the Yellow Jackets to manufacture a run and tie the game at 1-1.

In the top of the fourth inning, Brittain jumpstarted a rally with a two-out single and quickly stole second base. Two batters later, McKenna singled through the left side, scoring Brittain and putting Wheaton back on top 2-1. Bolhuis cruised into the bottom of the sixth inning having only allowed one hit, but the Yellow Jackets finally got to the sophomore pitcher with three runs on three hits, chasing Bolhuis from the game with just one out in the inning. John Schmitz entered in relief and quickly ended the threat, keeping the score at 4-2.

Mailman was the benefactor of the windy conditions when his one-out fly ball dropped between several defenders, allowing him to reach second base on the error. Two batters later, Brett Albaugh laced a triple into right-center field and was followed by an RBI double by Johnny Peltz to level the game again at 4-4.

Baldwin Wallace threatened in the home half of the seventh inning, putting runners on the corner with two outs, but Schmitz extinguished the threat by picking the runner off at third base to end the inning. Wheaton could not capitalize on a one-out double by Peter Newman in the top of the eighth inning and the score remained tied heading into final inning.

Mailman led off the top of the ninth inning with a double to deep center field and advanced to third on a passed ball. Zeller brought home the go-ahead run when he reached on an error, making it 5-4. A leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth chased Schmitz in favor of Nick Johnson. Andrew Zuber erased the single when he threw out pinch runner Brandon Zim on a stolen base attempt. After a hit by pitch, Johnson induced a ground ball back to the mound which resulted in a game-ending double play.

Wheaton tallied its five runs on 11 hits with one error. Baldwin Wallace scored four runs on six hits, both season lows, with two errors. Bolhuis allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits in 5.1 innings. Schmitz earned the win with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit with three strikeouts. Johnson threw one inning to record the save.