The College of Wooster won five of six games during the second half of its spring break trip, starting with a gem by freshman pitcher Nick Buckingham as he beat No. 18 ranked Johns Hopkins University 5-2, then the offense taking center stage with 13.5 runs per game in the other four wins, as the Fighting Scots return from Florida with an 8-4 record.
Buckingham carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and ultimately yielded just one earned run during 7.1 innings of work with four strikeouts. A three-run fifth that featured a John McLain RBI double and run-scoring triple by Bryan Miller was enough offense for Wooster, which turned the game over to another freshman pitcher, Michael Whitaker, who notched the save in the ninth inning.
Riding the momentum of that victory, the Scots' bats came alive for 21-10 and 12-3 triumphs over the University of Wis.-Platteville and Nichols College, respectively. Six Wooster players had multi-hit games against Platteville, paced by Frank Vance's 4-for-5, four-RBI line and Eddie Reese's four hits (4-for-6), three RBI, and three steals. Reese belted a three-run home run as part of a six-run first inning versus Nichols and the Scots cruised from there, with Zac Mathie contributing a 3-for-4 day.
Next, Wooster played its fifth game against a nationally-ranked opponent during the two-week spring break, and led No. 15 Birmingham Southern College 4-0 early before the Panthers got hot late with 13 runs from the fifth inning on for a 13-5 result. Jarrod Mancine doubled twice during a four-hit performance for the Scots.
Wooster closed the trip strong, bouncing back for decisive victories, 12-1 versus Dubuque University and 9-2 against Bethel (Minn.) University. Buckingham was strong again in the Dubuque game, allowing just one run in six innings as the offense staked him to a big lead with a seven-run fourth. That frame included a Brendan Taylor two-run double and McLain knocking in two on a single.
While the final margin was seven runs, the Scots were trailing Bethel 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh. Then, Miller helped key a three-run inning with a one-out double that put runners on second and third, and in the eighth, Reese helped seal the outcome with a three-run homer.
Over the last six games, Wooster was led offensively by Mancine, Reese, and Cal Thomay. Mancine and Thomay both hit an even .500 (11-for-22), with the former adding three doubles and walking five times. Reese also registered 11 hits as part of a .423 average, and six of them went for extra bases – three doubles, one triple, and the two homers. Reese also accounted for 14 RBI.
On the mound, Buckingham posted a 1.35 ERA in his two victories and also winning twice was Matt Felvey, once as a starter against Nichols and the other as a middle reliever versus Bethel (Minn.). Also notable, Zach Woullard had a quality start, holding Bethel (Minn.) to one earned run during six innings.
The Scots return to action on Saturday, March 29, when they host Kenyon College (8-6) in a North Coast Athletic Conference East Division doubleheader, starting at noon.