No. 3 Wooster Wraps Up Florida Trip with Pair of Convincing Wins

Dan Gail
Dan Gail
Harry Witwer-Dukes

After a rare offensive cold stretch to start the week, the third-ranked College of Wooster baseball team lit up the scoreboard with 28 runs over its final two Florida games, and will bring a 6-4 record back to Ohio.

Wooster's fifth-inning hit parade during Thursday's 13-0 win over Bethany College (11-4) proved to be the spark plug for the final two games. Junior Harry Witwer-Dukes led off the fifth with the first of 10 consecutive base hits. After three singles, junior Aaron Spidell ripped a bases-clearing two-bagger out to left, and that was the first of five straight extra base knocks. Senior Jacob Stuursma followed Spidell's lead with a double, while sophomore Noah Clement chased Bethany starter Nick Gross from the game with a triple.

The Bison's relief staff fared no better, as junior Dan Gail greeted Tyler Alworth with a two-run homer out to left field, in what marked the Scots' first round-tripper of the year. The big hits kept coming after Gail's at bat, with senior Garrett Crum legging out a three-bagger, and Witwer-Dukes getting a triple of his own two batters later.

Senior Chandler Dippman (2-1) turned in a strong bounce-back performance against Bethany with seven shutout innings. The right-hander scattered six singles and struck out five.

On Saturday, Wooster scored a season-high 15 runs to down Bethel University (7-4) 15-6 at historic Terry Park in Fort Myers.

Junior Dan Harwood had the big stick in the win, as the Scots' designated hitter went 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored. Harwood's monster game started in the second when his double brought in Crum for the game's first run.

An inning later, the junior stroked a two-run triple up the alley in right center, which brought in two more runs. Right before Harwood's big knock, Crum delivered a two-run single, with the first two of an eventual five third-inning runs coming in.

Wooster was leading 6-1 at that point, and scored at least one run in each inning the rest of the way. In the sixth, three runs came across for the Scots, the first on a Harwood double, and the final two on a two-run, two-bagger courtesy of Witwer-Dukes.

Senior Brian Murray earned his second win of the season. The right-hander allowed three runs on 10 hits in five innings before turning the ball over to a trio of relievers.

Wooster didn't have "the luck of the Irish" on St. Patrick's Day, as Eastern Connecticut State University's (4-5) Jordan Muchin kept the Scots off balance all game long, and his Warrior teammates provided plenty of pop at the dish, for what resulted in a 7-0 shutout.

Wooster had Muchin on the ropes in the second inning. Senior Harrison Walls drew a one-out walk, with juniors Nick Strausbaugh and Aaron Spidell following with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Muchin wrung up Stuursma for the third of his 11 strikeouts before getting Dippman to ground out.

Alexander White went 3-for-5 with two RBI out of the leadoff for the Warriors.

On Wednesday, runs were at a premium for Wooster, which was dealt a sweep by North Central College (8-1). The Cardinals squeaked by for a 4-3 win in game one before collecting a 3-1 victory in their Florida finale.

Both teams had plenty of chances to score more than a combined 11 runs over the two games, as 42 runners were left on base, including 13 by Wooster in game one and 15 by North Central in game two.

Wooster turned a pair of early double plays in game one. Gail mowed down a would-be base stealer in the first inning on a strike out-throw out play, and sophomore Andrew Hill started an inning-ending 1-6-3 two-for-one in the second.

Offensively, Wooster struck first in the third. Stuursma poked a one-out single up the middle, and came all the way around when North Central right fielder Colin Weilbacher misplayed Clement's single.

Weilbacher redeemed himself with the go-ahead RBI single during North Central's four-run seventh.

Despite a no decision, Hill continued to pitch well with eight strikeouts in five innings.

Wooster left at least two runners on base in innings two through six in game one, while North Central did likewise in innings three through eight in the nightcap.

In game two, Stuursma ripped a leadoff double to center and scored after back-to-back groundouts for Wooster's lone run of the game.

John Carmody, who had the game-tying poke in game one, knocked in the go-ahead score in game two with a third-inning single. His sacrifice fly in the eighth inning upped the lead to 3-1.

Wooster had several other major trouble spots in the second game, including in the sixth inning when sophomore Jack Jones came to the rescue. The submariner entered to a bases-loaded jam, and induced a groundout and flyout to keep the Cardinals off the board.

Stuursma led the way offensively for Wooster during its 10-game trip, as the senior shortstop hit a team-high .409 (18-for-44) with 11 RBI, nine runs, four doubles, and a three-bagger.

Harwood, who really came on strong over the final two Florida games, currently leads the team with six doubles, while his nine RBI are tied for the second-most on the squad with Crum.

Next, Wooster hosts longtime Mideast Region rival Marietta College (5-8) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27.