Sophomore Michael Wielansky reached base safely in his first 11 plate appearances during the ninth-ranked College of Wooster baseball team's annual spring trip, and had a chance for a cycle in the Fighting Scots first game, as Wooster outscored its first four opponents 40-9 before dropping an 8-5 contest to Adrian College on Saturday to end the first week of the Florida trip with a 4-1 record.
Wielansky delivered a 3-for-3 day with four runs scored during Wooster's Florida opener, a 7-0 shutout on Monday against Susquehanna University, a team that advanced to the 2016 NCAA Div. III New York Regional championship round. The shortstop came to the plate in the ninth inning a triple shy of the cycle, and settled for his third walk of the game. He singled in the first, doubled in the sixth, and clubbed a solo homer in the eighth inning.
Ironically, Wielansky's first hit during Tuesday's 16-2 win over Mount Saint Mary College (N.Y.) was a triple, and he later legged out a second three-bagger in the game as part of a 4-for-4 day with four runs scored and two RBI. Then on Wednesday, despite having to hit the reset button on his on-base streak - which reached an impressive 48 games before being snapped during a 5-2 win over Arcadia University - Wielansky came through in a big way during the decisive eighth inning by lofting a sacrifice fly that plated the go-ahead run in an eventual three-run rally. Sophomore Garrett Crum and senior Ryan Ostendorf accounted for the other two runs with two-out RBI base knocks after senior Jamie Lackner was intentionally walked.
Wooster's pitching staff was equally as impressive on the week as senior Michael Houdek toed the rubber against Susquehanna for seven innings of five-hit shutout baseball to pick up his second win in as many games before giving way to classmates Jacob Pries and Michael Whitaker, who allowed just one hit the rest of the way.
Of note, Wooster's pitching staff didn't give up an earned run for the first 20 innings of the season before Mt. St. Mary's Chris Introcaso clubbed a two-run homer off of Nanak Saran in Tuesday's third inning, but the junior righty turned in a fine five-inning performance in which he only allowed three hits.
On Wednesday, senior Tyler Schuch found his rhythm after the first inning and turned in 5 1/3 innings of two-hit baseball. Schuch allowed two runs while striking out five, and has now allowed three or fewer hits in three of his last four starts dating back to last season.
Then, Wooster picked up its fifth win in a row on Friday with a 12-5 victory over Western Connecticut State University. Junior Drew Tornow provided the offensive punch with a third-inning grand slam and a two-run sixth-inning triple as part of a 2-for-4 afternoon with six RBI and a pair of runs. Notable, Tornow's grand slam marked the second for his career.
The Scots batted around the order twice in the game and plated six runs in the third inning and five more in the sixth frame. In the third, Wielansky started the frame off with a single up the middle and came in to score on a base-knock by Crum. After Tornow clear the bases, sophomore Chandler Dippman drew a walk and moved up to second on a base knock by junior Jake Fling before scoring one batter later on sophomore Jacob Stuursma's seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield.
In the sixth frame, Crum knocked in Lackner, who walked to leadoff the inning before swiping his second base of the week, with Stuursma accounting for the other non-Tornow RBI in the frame via a two-out walk.
Wooster added an insurance run in the ninth when Wielansky legged out his third triple of the week before coming in to score on Lackner's sacrifice fly.
Of note, Wooster went around-the-horn on a 5-4-3 game-ending double play against Western Connecticut State, marking the second time on the young season the Scots' have ended a game defensively with a twin killer.
On Saturday, Adrian cooled off Wooster with six runs between the first two innings, and the Bulldogs thwarted the Scots' late comeback bid. Lackner laced RBI base knocks in the seventh and ninth innings, the latter of which pulled Wooster within three. Earlier in the ninth inning, Wielansky logged his sixth extra base hit of the week with a two-bagger that plated senior Jake Kail.
For the week, Wielansky led the charge offensively with a .579 average (11-for-19), 12 runs scored, five RBI, three triples, two doubles, and a homer. Lackner backed that up with a .444 average (8-for-18) with six runs scored and five RBI. Notable, the duo added 10 walks and three hit by pitches on the week, and combined for a .615 on-base percentage (32-for-52).
Notable, Wooster's pitching staff held the opposition to a .225 (36-for-160) average on the week to go with an average of 3.4 runs-per-game allowed.
Wooster opens the second half of its trip against Amherst College (2-4) at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Scots have a trio of games against nationally-ranked teams in the latest D3baseball.com/National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 25 poll, including two against 25th-ranked North Central College (Ill.) (1-2).