WOOSTER, Ohio – Junior Michael Wielansky recorded his 200th career hit, junior Chandler Dippman fired his second-career complete game (first nine-inning complete game), and the second-ranked College of Wooster baseball team won its second game against a nationally-ranked team in as many days, as the Fighting Scots topped 18th-ranked La Roche College 5-1 on Thursday afternoon at Art Murray Field.
The big turning point of the game happened in the bottom of the fourth inning when La Roche (24-7-1) centerfielder Dylan Urban appeared to make a fine running catch, but the Redhawks' first-year dropped the ball beyond the center field fence upon jumping onto the fence to slow his momentum. Per NCAA rules, since the release of the ball was not voluntary and intentional, and since Urban had yet to reverse his direction, senior Jake Fling was credited with a two-run homer on the play that made it 5-1.
Dippman (5-0) stymied La Roche all afternoon, as the Redhawks, who entered play with the fifth-highest batting average in Div. III, were held to eight hits, six of which were singles. Wooster's (27-4) right-hander needed 109 pitches during the complete-game effort, including just four during a one-two-three third inning. In fact, Dippman tossed 14 or fewer pitches each inning the rest of the way, and turned in single-digit pitch counts in the fifth and eighth innings.
Wooster's defense was phenomenal all afternoon with Fling's range in the outfield, sophomore Harry Witwer-Dukes' five assists at third base, and Wielansky's spectacular fully-extended snare on a flair to end the fifth inning among the highlights.
Just before Fling's round-tripper, junior Jacob Stuursma legged out his third triple of the season, and that sent classmate Harrison Walls around the bases, and made it a 3-1 tilt. Walls reached via a one-out single.
Earlier in the game, junior Garrett Crum recorded a RBI groundout in the first inning to tie the game at one.
In the third inning, Wielansky legged out an infield single on a slow chopper to second base for his 200th career hit. The sophomore advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw by La Roche's Alex Tesla, and scored on another Crum RBI groundout.
Noteworthy, Wielansky's the 14th Scot to record his 200th career hit, but just the second to do so before the end of his junior year.
Fling led the way offensively with a 2-for-4 showing with two runs and two RBI. Fling's run on his round tripper moved the senior up to sixth all-time in program history at 207.
Stuursma tallied a team-high three hits in the contest, while Walls and Wielansky each had two base knocks. Wielansky stole his 55th career base in the third inning to move into a tie for ninth on the program's career list.
Jay Novak logged La Roche's RBI single in the top of the first inning. Tesla took the loss, and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in three innings of work.
Noteworthy, Wooster's win marked the 1,200th for head coach Tim Pettorini.
Next, Wooster (12-0 North Coast Athletic Conference) travels to Denison University (23-7, 10-2 NCAC) for a key twin bill on Saturday, April 28, set to start at noon. Wooster and Denison are currently first and second respectively in the conference standings.