CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - Junior Garrett Crum provided the early offensive firepower with a two-run second-inning home run, and first-year Evan Faxon closed out Kenyon College with four innings of one-hit relief, as the second-ranked College of Wooster baseball team opened the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament with an 8-1 win over the Lords on Thursday afternoon at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Wooster (35-6) will play Wabash College (26-15) at noon on Friday in the winners bracket, while Kenyon (16-17) squares off with Denison University (31-9) in the first elimination game at 4 p.m. Wabash topped Denison 4-2 in Friday's second game.
|First-year Evan Faxon allowed one hit in four innings of relief, and earned hist first collegiate save. Photo courtesy of Russell Kramer, NCAC.|
Crum staked Wooster to a 2-0 lead with a two-run shot to dead center, and in doing so, cracked the program's top-10 list for single-season RBI. The junior plated another run in the third inning with a RBI single that made it 5-0, and he's now tied with former Wooster great Pat Christensen for the ninth-most RBI in a season at 64.
Prior to Crum's third-inning single, junior Jacob Stuursma led off the inning with a base knock down the left-field line, and he came in to score on a RBI double off the bat of junior Michael Wielansky. Sophomore Dan Harwood followed suit with a two-bagger right after to bring Wielansky around and push Wooster's lead to 4-0.
After leaving eight men on, including the bases loaded twice, Kenyon chalked out a run in the eighth inning. Matt von Roemer tripled to lead off the frame, and was on the verge of being stranded 90 feet from home after back-to-back Faxon strikeouts, but a Wooster passed ball right before the final out of the inning allowed von Roemer to score from third.
Wooster answered right back with a three-run inning. Wielansky legged out his program-leading 17th career triple to start the inning and scored on a balk. Two batters later, Crum laced a single to left field for his third hit of the contest, and he moved up to second base on a base knock by senior Drew Tornow. Later, sophomore Aaron Spidell came through in the clutch with a two-out, two-run double off the wall in right field.
Faxon, who entered with a 3-0 count on Kenyon's Ryan Page in the top of the sixth inning, battled back for the strikeout and went on to set down the first six Lords he faced. The rookie southpaw allowed one hit and one walk in his four innings of relief en route to earning his first collegiate save.
Senior Nanak Saran picked up the win to move to 8-2 on the year. The right-hander worked five-plus innings and allowed five hits while striking out four.
Harwood, Stuursma, and Wielansky had two hits each to back up Crum's three.
Noteworthy, Wooster twisted a 4-6-3 game-inning double play, and it's the second straight year the Scots have closed out their opening game at the NCAC Tournament with a twin killer.
Alex Hoskins logged two of Kenyon's six hits.