Halfway through its annual spring break swing, The College of Wooster is an even 3-3 while playing against some very tough competition at Port Charlotte, Fla. Three of the six games came against teams currently ranked in the D3baseball.com top-25.
Wooster actually started out 0-3 for the first time since 1985, which included two close losses to regional rival and No. 10 Marietta College, then broke out in a big way as the Fighting Scots pounded out 29 hits, a school-record seven coming from Frank Vance, during a 24-11 rout of Salem State University on Wednesday.
All seven of Vance's hits were singles, as the junior third baseman surpassed three Wooster greats who had achieved six-hit games, the most recent being Ross Yoder in 2005, and equally impressive, senior left fielder Eddie Reese hit for the cycle versus Salem State. Reese singled in the first, doubled in the fourth, homered in the sixth, and tripled in the seventh, becoming the first Scot to hit for the cycle since catcher George Radigan did it in just four at bats versus Westfield State University March 16, 2001. Reese also had a career-high seven RBI.
After the Salem State game, which also featured 3-for-6 outings by Jarrod Mancine, Bryan Miller, Zac Mathie, and Craig Day, Wooster scored a 3-2, 11-inning victory over Montclair State University and a 9-7 win against No. 6 ranked Webster University.
Trailing 2-0 to Montclair State, Mathie and Brendan Taylor led off the seventh with a double and triple, respectively, to help tie the game, and in the 11th, Day produced the game-winning RBI, singling in Vance, who had gotten on via a one-out base knock. On the mound, Jon Rothman kept the Red Hawks off the scoreboard for the final 3.2 innings to earn the win.
In the Webster game, both offenses were operating at a high level early as it was 7-7 through six innings of play. Singles by Mancine and Miller fueled a two-run eighth inning for the Scots, and the relief pitching of Rothman in the bottom of the eighth and Michael Whitaker in the ninth closed out the victory.
While Vance and Reese had the top single-game performances, Taylor and Mancine have been the most consistent offensive performers to date. Taylor, a first-year starter at DH, is batting .455 with four doubles and five walks, and Mancine is hitting .400 with six RBI out of the leadoff spot. Additionally, Miller has drawn seven walks as part of a .542 on-base percentage and Mathie has doubled three times and driven in six.
Wooster's ace pitcher, Steve Hagen, split a pair of starts (1-1), and Rothman and Whitaker have stood out as relievers. Rothman has not given up a run in four appearances and 7.2 innings, while Whitaker, a freshman right-hander, owns a win and the save to go with a 1.50 ERA and eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched.
The second half of the Scots' spring break trip includes match-ups with two more nationally-ranked opponents.