FORT PIERCE, FL - The Norse Baseball Team (2-7-1) would avenge a loss from earlier in the week, defeating Earlham College JV by a final score of 8-1 in their first game of the day. The second game against the Etobicoke Rangers would be shortened because of darkness and would end with in a tie.
GAME 1 - BAY COLLEGE - 8, EARLHAM COLLEGE - 1
Justin Popelka (SO, Escanaba, MI) came two outs shy of being the first ever Norse player to throw a complete game shutout. He would give up just five hits in eight and one third innings of work, striking out ten and walking no one in leading the Norse to just their second victory.
The Norse offense would collect 11 hits and draw nine walks, but leave 13 runners on base in the game. Mark Zhang (FR, Canberra, Australia) led the Norse offense with two hits in four at bats, a double, and three RBI. Ben Schwalbach (SO, Gladstone, MI) would also collect two hits in four at bats, and drive in one run on a double. Lucas Weinert (FR, Gladstone, MI) finished the game two for four with two runs scored and an RBI, while Owen Hanson (FR, Gladstone, MI) also collected two hits in three at bats, and walked twice.
Six Earlham pitchers would toe the rubber in the afternoon. They would combine to give up seven earned runs, walk nine, and strike out seven.
GAME 2 - BAY COLLEGE - 2, ETOBICOKE RANGERS - 2
Bay would have their opportunities in the nightcap, but end up settling for a tie after leaving 11 runners on base. The game was originally scheduled for nine innings, but would have to be cut short after the eighth due to darkness.
The Norse would load the bases in the first and third innings, and only wind up with one run in both of those opportunities. In the first the run would score on an error on a groundball up the middle, and in the third the run would cross the plate on a passed ball. Meanwhile the Rangers would benefit from a routine fly ball that would be lost in the setting sun, landing in center to score a run. An ensuing ground ball would drive in a second run, tying the game at two after the third inning.
Kyler Moir (FR, Hillman, MI) would end up with a no decision, despite an excellent pitching performance. He would strike out 12 and walk just two in eight innings of work, giving up six hits and two earned runs.
"I am extremely happy with how our guys bounced back today," said Head Baseball Coach Mike Pankow. "Yesterday we came out flat, our bats were nonexistent, and I challenged the guys to bring the energy that they did two days ago. They responded. Because of that we can now focus on becoming better baseball players. We obviously need to come through in RBI situations in the future. Our pitchers did a fantastic job. They both made adjustments from their outings earlier this week and put us in position to win games."
The Norse finish their spring trip on Friday morning. They will meet up with Western Connecticut JV in a rematch from Wednesday afternoon. Bay came out on top of that game by a final of 11-8. Friday's game is scheduled for a 9:30 am first pitch.