CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – The College of Wooster, now ranked ninth in the D3baseball.com/National College Baseball Writers Association Top 25, matched the Div. III single-game high with five double plays, and the offense scored in five of its eight trips to the plate, as the Fighting Scots opened play at the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament with a 10-2 win over Denison University on Thursday afternoon at VA Memorial Stadium.
Wooster's (33-8) first two and last two outs came on double plays as sophomore Michael Wielansky scooped up a bouncer up the middle in the top of the first inning to erase a leadoff walk before flipping over to senior Jamie Lackner to complete the twin killer. Then, in the ninth, sophomore Brian Murray snared a comebacker to the mound to start the game-ending 1-6-3 twin killer.
Notable, each of Wooster's double plays came a different way as sophomore Jacob Stuursma started a 4-6-3 twin killer in the fourth inning to again, erase a leadoff walk. An inning later, sophomore Chandler Dippman hustled to the bag at third after the first two Big Red (29-11) batters reached for a 5-3 double play, and in the sixth inning, he started a 5-4-3 double play to erase a leadoff Denison single.
Of note, Wooster's the eighth team in Div. III to turn five double plays this year, and the Scots last twisted it five times in a game against the University of Saint Thomas during the 2009 Div. III National Championship game.
|Junior Jake Fling is congratulated by third base coach Barry Craddock during Wooster's 10-2 win over Denison on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Russell Kramer, NCAC|
Offensively, Wooster struck in the bottom of the first when junior Jake Fling lifted a one-out round tripper out to left, and two innings later, the center fielder pushed the Scots' edge to 3-1 with a double down the left-field line.
One batter prior to Fling's two-bagger, Dippman punched a double to the wall in the right-field corner, and that plated Stuursma who led off with a single prior to his steal.
In the fourth, sophomore Garrett Crum drew a one-out free pass and advanced to third on a single off the bat of junior Drew Tornow. Those two plays set the stage for senior Ryan Ostendorf, who laid down a safety squeeze to make it 4-1. In fact, Wooster successfully laid down two squeezes, but first-year Nick Strausbaugh legged out a single on his due to Denison's defensive alignment to cap a two-run sixth-inning that made it 6-2.
In the eighth, Wooster capitalized on a pair of errors as Fling reached on the first with Stuursma coming in on the play. Next, Wielansky roped a single into center field that was booted in the outfield enabling the speedy sophomore to come all the way around to score as part of a three-run play.
Senior Michael Houdek improved to 8-2 with the win, and allowed two runs on five hits in six innings of work.
Tornow led the way with three hits, while Dippman and Fling had two hits each and two RBI.
Noah Hahn recorded two of Denison's six hits.
Next, Wooster plays the winner of the DePauw University (29-9) - Oberlin College (22-18) game in the winner's bracket at noon on Friday.