No. 10 Wooster Powers Past Wittenberg in Opener, Unable to Rally Back in Nightcap

WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster baseball team, up to 10th in this week's Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 25 Poll, strung together three lengthy at bats to pull away from Wittenberg University 14-4 in game one, while the Tigers held on in game two to take Wednesday's nightcap 8-7 at Art Murray Field.

Wooster (23-9, 12-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) capitalized on extra hitter-friendly conditions with seven long balls on the day, the first of which was launched off the bat of junior Nick Strausbaugh, who staked the Scots to a 2-1 lead in the third inning of game one. An inning later, junior Harry Witwer-Dukes did likewise leading off the fourth inning, and it was déjà vu for the Scots' third baseman at the start of the fifth.

Wooster fed off Witwer-Dukes' momentum to the tune of three more fourth-inning runs, which upped the lead to 6-1. Junior Aaron Spidell's well-placed bunt loaded the bases, and freshman Tyler Chumita plated the inning's second score with a fielder's choice. Strausbaugh did likewise, with junior Dan Gail scoring on that RBI ground out, and senior Jacob Stuursma plugged the right center gap with a two-bagger, which sent Strausbaugh in to score from first.

Tyler Chumita
Freshman Tyler Chumita hit a grand slam in game one.

Wooster put the game out of reach in the sixth inning, as the Scots answered the Tigers'  (18-15, 8-8 NCAC) two solo home runs with a seven-run inning. Senior Garrett Crum, who had his hitting streak snapped in Wednesday's nightcap, extended his run to 23 straight with a RBI single that doubled up Wittenberg at 8-4, while five batters later, Chumita placed a ball beyond the center field fence for a grand slam.

Senior Chandler Dippman (6-3) went the distance. The senior allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out three in the run-rule shortened game. Dippman was on cruise control early, as he didn't allow a hit until a jam job with two outs in the fourth found the outfield grass.

Michael Martin (1-4) toed the rubber for Wittenberg and allowed six runs on nine hits in four innings.

Things didn't start well for Wooster in the nightcap, as Wittenberg's Jack Siefert blasted a two-run homer in the top of the first, and the Tigers didn't look back from there. Defensively, Rusty Hayhurst was aided by a pair of twin killers that erased a pair of early Wooster singles, while offensively, the Tigers opened up a 6-1 lead in the top of the fifth.

Wooster started to get to Hayhurst in the fifth, as Gail hit the first of his two homers in the contest. However, Brandon Beegle mitigated the damage for the time being, as the Scots stranded a pair of runners.

In the sixth, sophomore Noah Clement legged out a two-out infield single, and Gail followed with a two-run blast to pull Wooster within 8-4. Wooster's offense kept plugging away in the seventh with another two-run inning. Junior Dan Harwood's RBI double trimmed the Scots' deficit to three, while Witwer-Dukes reached on a fielding error with Harwood coming in to score on the play.

Harwood did his part in the ninth inning with a one-out blast to center, but the Scots couldn't materialize anything beyond a Witwer-Dukes two-out walk.

Sophomore Andrew Hill fell to 3-1. The righty allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, while classmate Evan Faxon gave the Scots a chance late with three scoreless frames of relief work.

Beegle earned the win despite getting tagged for four runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

Strausbaugh and Witwer-Dukes went a combined 11-for-18 with eight runs, five extra-base hits, and five RBI in the spilt, while Harwood (4) and Gail rounded out the Scots with at least three base knocks.

Patrick Kenney paced the Tigers with five hits.

Next, Wooster's slated to play a single game at John Carroll University (23-13) on Thursday, May 2. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.