GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin baseball team dropped both ends of a doubleheader to the Hornets of Kalamazoo College on Friday by scores of 3-2 and 9-4.
The Knights are currently in sole possession of fourth place in the conference standings, but are tight race for the final spot in the MIAA Tournament with Alma and Trine.
With the pair of losses, the Knights drop to 12-14 in MIAA play and 18-20 overall. Kalamazoo sits in second in the league standings at 19-7 with a 27-11 overall record.
In game one, the Knights took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Nate DeZwaan (Hamilton, Mich./Holland Christian) reached on an error and eventually scored after sophomore Jonathan Keane (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central) ripped a double to left field and junior Ryan Stewart (Shelby, Mich./Parkway Christian) singled up the middle of the infield.
Calvin's starting pitcher junior Jamie Bristol (Grand Rapids, Mich./Calvin Christian) retired ten straight batters before giving up a double in the fourth inning to Kalamazoo's Ryan Orr. Ian Kobernick's one-out single brought Orr home, tying the game at one.
The Knights stranded two runners in the bottom of the fourth and left Logan Marshall on the base paths in the bottom of the fifth. Kalamazoo capitalized on the Knights' missed opportunities with a three-hit, one-run sixth inning at the plate to go up 2-1. Calvin pitcher sophomore Clay Francisco (Delton, Mich./Thornapple Kellogg) minimized the damage, with one pitch; Kalamazoo's Mitch VanKoevering hit into a double play to end the inning, leaving two Hornets stranded on base.
Freshman Justin Paauwe (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) replaced Francisco on the mound in the seventh inning. The Hornets widened their lead to two runs as Jordan Wiley's infield single brought in pinch runner Connor Young. Freshman Mike Kool (Sturgis, Mich./Centreville) relieved Paauwe and finished the inning without any further damage. Kool got the final two outs, ending the inning with the bases loaded.
The Knights gave one final push in the bottom of the seventh, rallying for back-to-back hits by freshman Logan Marshall (Plymouth, Mich./Salem) and junior Johnny Salgado (Whittier, Calif./Whittier). Sophomore Beau Redfield (Cedar Spring, Mich./Northpointe Christian) laid down a bunt and all runners were safe on a fielder's choice, loading the bases. Senior Colton Wolfe (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) grounded into a double play, but one Knight scored on the play. However, the Knights' comeback effort came up short as Ryan Orr was able to get the final out, pitching a full seven innings to earn the victory on the hill.
DeZwaan, Keane and Marshall all were 2-3 in game one.
Game two was scoreless until the fourth inning after a two-out double by Kalamazoo's Mitch VanKoevering that brought home Jack Clark; Clark had reached on a single earlier in the inning.
As the Knights' struggled to get their bats going, the Hornets pulled ahead 4-0 with a three-run, two-hit fifth inning. Calvin committed two errors in the inning.
The Knights responded in the bottom of the inning. Junior Kyle Houts (Spring Lake, Mich./Spring Lake) led off with a double and Marshall followed, singling to center field. A sac fly by Salgado scored Houts, bringing the score to 4-1.
Calvin made it a 4-3 ball game scoring one run in both the sixth and seventh innings. DeZwaan, Houts, Marshall and senior Mike Kempton (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg) contributed hits in the comeback effort.
The Hornets responded with seven hits in the top of the eighth inning for five runs to go up 9-3.
In Calvin's last chance at the plate, Colton Wolfe doubled down the right field line and Nate DeZwaan earned an RBI with a single to left center. However, Kalamazoo's Scott Zychowski got the job done on the mound for the Hornets to seal the five-run victory.
In the second end of the doubleheader, DeZwaan and Marshall led the Knights' offense once again. DeZwaan went 3-5 with an RBI while Marshall was 3-4.
Freshman Trevor Van Duyn (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) took the loss on the mound. Francisco and freshman Micah Berlage (Dexter, Mich./Dexter) also pitched in the loss.
The Knights will travel to Kalamazoo tomorrow to play the second half of the four-game series. First pitch of game one is set for 1 p.m.