|Frank Vance eyes a seventh-inning drive that would hit off the right-field foul pole for a home run, his fourth of the season, during Saturday's opener.|
WOOSTER, Ohio – Frank Vance hammered a solo shot off the right-field foul pole as part of a two-run seventh inning that broke a 5-5 tie and helped The College of Wooster to a 7-5 win over Ohio Wesleyan University during game one of the teams' North Coast Athletic Conference Cross-Over Series, and the Fighting Scots stroked four home runs, two by Craig Day, to complete the sweep, 17-8, on Saturday at Art Murray Field.
With two wins in the three-game set, Wooster (26-13, 15-3 NCAC) earns a spot in next week's NCAC Tournament.
Vance's big swing, part of a 7-for-9, six-RBI effort on the day, came right after the Scots gained a 6-5 lead. Ohio Wesleyan (13-25, 6-12 NCAC) had evened the score with a pair of runs during the top of the seventh, then Eddie Reese took a four-pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the frame, stole second base and went another 90 feet on a throwing error by the catcher while the first out was recorded. Brendan Taylor drove in Reese on a sacrifice fly, and Vance hooked a 1-1 pitch high off the foul pole for a two-run cushion.
Steve Hagen took it from there, nearly completing the game on the mound. After overcoming some early trouble, he went 8.2 innings for the win (6-4), which included facing the minimum during the eighth and getting two outs in the ninth before handing the ball over to Jon Rothman with a runner on second. Rothman induced the Battling Bishops' No. 3 hitter into a game-ending grounder to short for the save (5).
Ohio Wesleyan had scored the day's first three runs, two in the top of the first on an Aaron Caputo round tripper and one unearned during the third.
Wooster took advantage of an error for a five-run fifth inning. It appeared the Bishops were going to maintain their 3-0 lead, when Reese hit a grounder to third with two outs, but the ensuing throw to first was off line for one run and runners on the corners. On the very next pitch, Zac Mathie drove a double the opposite way (left-center) to tie it. Taylor found a hole through the left side for an RBI single and Vance brought Taylor all the way around via a double to deep center.
In game two, the Scots scored all the runs they would need for another win in the first three innings – a four-run first and a six-run third. Jarrod Mancine doubled to start the game, later back-to-back walks loaded the bases, and Vance lined a two-out, two-run single into center for a 2-1 lead. Cal Thomay followed by hitting a double beyond the reach of the centerfielder for two more tallies.
Tied at four going into the bottom of the third, Wooster took control of the game as its first eight hitters that frame all reached safely, beginning with a Reese solo homer and also including a Vance RBI double into the right-center gap, a Thomay RBI double into the right-field corner, and a Day two-run home run to left. All told, the Scots gained a 10-4 lead.
Ohio Wesleyan pulled within 10-8 through five and one-half innings, only to see Vance deliver another RBI, this time coming through with a two-out single up the middle in the sixth, and Day send a solo shot beyond the left-center fence in the seventh for a four-run margin.
Wooster finished off the Bishops with a five-run eighth, highlighted by Bryan Miller powering a 3-2 pitch out to left for a three-run homer.
In addition to Vance's 7-for-9, six-RBI effort, Taylor (3-for-6 with three RBI), Thomay (3-for-9 with three RBI), Day (3-for-8 with four RBI), and Miller (3-for-8 with three RBI) all combined for three hits.
Aaron Strausbaugh (4-for-9 with one RBI) and Steven Moore (4-for-7) paced Ohio Wesleyan.
The two teams will complete their NCAC Cross-Over Series on Sunday, starting at noon.