Cardinals split with Manistee

Big Rapids shows fight in second game of twinbill

MANISTEE — After winning an opener that was never in doubt late, Manistee couldn’t get the big hit it needed at the plate.

The Chippewas cruised to a 6-1 win in the first game, but dropped the nightcap to Big Rapids 6-5 on Monday while unable to drive in runners.

BRINGING THE HEAT: Big Rapids' Grayson Angell delivers a pitch to the plate Monday against Manistee. (Pioneer photo/Matt Wenzel)

“Hitting-wise, we’ve got to hit better,” said Manistee coach Troy Nezki.

Jalen Bigalke tossed a complete game to pick up the win in the opener, while Joe Martinez came through with a big RBI double in the sixth inning to put the Cardinals on top for good in the second game.

“You’re frustrated, obviously, out of the gate that you performed that way in the first one,” said Big Rapids coach Ben Oleson of a six-error performance. “So to see us come into this one, get down early, take a lead back, give a lead back up again, tie it up late … it was good to see them fight for it. It’s a long trip to not get a win.”

Bigalke allowed one unearned run on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

“I did all right,” he said. “They put the ball in play a couple times but the defense was behind me and they did a good job.”

By going the distance, Bigalke also helped save the wear on a pitching staff that’s depleted due to six games in four days.

“He did a nice job pitching,” Nezki said. “He did a big-time help of not having to bring anybody else in.”

Seth Pefley led Manistee (15-12) with two hits and Tyler Sievert had a singled and RBI.

Grayson Angell allowed six unearned runs on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts for the Cardinals (9-14-1), and led them with two hits.

In the nightcap, Manistee tied the game at 5 with an RBI double by Dillon Rankin in the fifth inning. However, the Chippewas were unable to do any more damage despite runners at second and third with no outs.

Martinez made them pay in the top of the sixth with a two-out RBI double.

“It was huge,” Oleson said. “He just came up with a big hit for us and that kind of changed it and got us back in the game mentally.”

That was the end of the night for Tyler Sievert, who allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits and five walks with seven strikeouts. Jared Knapp threw the final 1 1/3 innings and allowed walk to go with a strikeout.

Manistee opened the seventh inning with a single by Knapp and Oleson pulled starter Andrew Kadar — who allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks with eight strikeouts — for Jordan Straub.

Straub walked Kreighton Rahn on four pitches, then sandwiched deep fly outs to center from Rankin and Brandon Dooley around a strikeout of Sievert to end the game.

“Jordan Straub has really been one of the guys who’s flown under the radar for us pitching because he just hasn’t been getting the wins,” Oleson said. “He’s got good stuff and it’s nice for him to be able to come off the mound with some success.”

Rankin led the Chippewas with a 3-for-4 performance and three RBIs while Knapp had two hits.

Manistee committed six errors in the series, but made a number of other mistakes that don’t show up in the box score.

“It’s a whole lot of little things they haven’t quite figured they add up to those extra runs,” Nezki said. “It shouldn’t have been a 6-5 game.”

Bigalke said the team probably was tired from the schedule over the last few days and it showed in the nightcap.

“Mentally, we just weren’t there from the beginning of the game,” he said. “It just felt like everything shut down after the first game.”

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