Junior Nanak Saran worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning by inducing a game-ending double play as the 12th-ranked College of Wooster baseball team topped Capital University 3-1 in its season-opener on Thursday afternoon at Clowson Field in Columbus.
Wooster's pitchers led the way as senior Michael Houdek and Saran combined on a seven-hitter. Houdek, who earned the win, went five innings, scattered five hits, allowed one unearned run, and struck out six before giving way to Saran. Saran, who earned his second career save, cruised through his first two innings of work with three strikeouts, and then issued a leadoff walk in the eighth inning. Wooster's sophomore middle infield combination of Jacob Stuursma and Michael Wielansky quickly erased that base runner with a 4-6-3 double play.
For the game, Wooster turned three double plays including one in the fifth inning that wiped out a one-out Capital (8-3) single.
Offensively, Wooster opened with a run in the top of the first, with three of the Scots' all-conference returning position players leading the way. Senior Ryan Ostendorf drew a full-count one-out walk and moved up to third when Wielansky smashed a 1-2 pitch to the gap for a double. Then, senior Jamie Lackner knocked a grounder to third, plating Ostendorf.
Capital knotted the game up in the bottom of the frame as Alexander Smith brought in Connor Hopkins on a one-out fielder's choice.
Wooster quickly regained the lead in the top of the second with the bottom of the order coming through. Stuursma laced a two-out base knock to right and moved into scoring position on a stolen base before sophomore Chandler Dippman brought Stuursma around on an payoff pitch, opposite-field single.
The Scots broke through for an insurance run in the sixth inning with Wielansky jump-starting the frame with a leadoff walk and stolen base before an infield single by Lackner and a walk by sophomore Garrett Crum loaded the bases. Then, senior Jake Kail lifted a sacrifice fly to center to push the run across.
Six of Wooster's nine starters recorded hits in the game while Capital leadoff man Jake Foley led all hitters with two hits on the day.
Next, Wooster opens its spring trip up with a 9:30 a.m. game against Susquehanna University (1-4) on Monday in Port Charlotte, Fla.