March 31, 2014

Big Red sweeps DePauw in NCAC opener

The Denison baseball team kicked off its 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference schedule with a doubleheader sweep of the DePauw Tigers on Monday in Granville, Ohio.  The Big Red won the opener 5-2 and took the nightcap 7-2.

In game one, Denison took advantage of three first-inning miscues by the DePauw defense.  Those mistakes coupled with a pair of hits, and a little small ball, allowed the home team to grab an early 4-0 lead.  After a leadoff fielding error on the Tiger shortstop allowed Georgie Montes to reach base, junior Charlie Apfelbach dropped a bunt single between the pitcher and first baseman.  A throwing error on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Ryan Loehnert allowed Montes to score DU's first run.

A one-out infield single by Zac Lewinski pushed across Apfelbach to make it a two-run game.  A second throwing error by pitcher Jack Beck on an attempted sacrifice by Andrew Touhy resulted in the third Big Red run.  The fourth-and-final run of the inning came on a successful SAC bunt down the first-base line by sophomore catcher Brandon Morgan.  Morgan's bunt allowed Lewinski to score from third.

Both teams scored a single run in the fourth inning.  Collin Henry doubled in Cory Meixner with two outs in the top of the frame, while a sacrifice fly to left by Ryan Mulligan allowed Apfelbach to cross the dish.  Ryan Allee shrunk the deficit to 5-2 in the fifth with an RBI single to left with no outs. However, a dominant relief performance from Kyle Colgain ended any chance of a DePauw rally. Entering after the Allee single, Colgain struck Connor Einertson out swinging for the first out of the fifth.  After inducing a ground ball that resulted in an out at third, the junior fanned Jack Thompson to minimize the damage.

Henry opened the sixth with a bunt down the third base line that stayed fair all the way to the bag.  After allowing the infield single, Colgain struck JB McCallum out looking.  Two pitches later, he got Michael Hartnagel to roll into a 4-6-3 double play to end the sixth.  The junior retired the side in order in the seventh, ending the game with an Allee strikeout.

Apfelbach and Lewinski combined for four of the Big Red's eight hits. They also scored three of the team's five run.  Senior Connor Murphy improved to 2-2 on the year after surrendering two runs on six hits with two strikeouts in four innings of work.  Colgain earned his second save of the year with a one-hit, four-strikeout performance over the final three frames.

DePauw gained the early edge in game two when an RBI fielder's choice in the first inning gave the visiting team a 1-0 lead.  Denison tied the game in the third with a two-out single to center by Loehnert that scored Conner Madey from second.  The Big Red took the lead in that same inning when a two-out throwing error with the bases loaded allowed Apfelbach to score.

A bases-loaded walk to Matt Dorsett tied the game in the top of the fourth. However, a two-spot in the bottom of the frame put the home team back in front for good.  Freshman Tucker Davison picked up his first-collegiate hit as he roped a double into right center that scored Morgan.  Davison came around to score two batters later on a single up the middle by Apfelbach.  Single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth pushed the Big Red lead to 7-2 heading into the final inning.  Mulligan, who took the hill in the eighth, struck out pinch hitter Lucas Italiano for the first out of the ninth. The junior followed that up with a ground ball to first that was easily played by Duncan Moran.  Mulligan needed just two pitches to put away Hartnagel who popped out to Morgan in foul territory.

In just his second career start, Davison went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.  Apfelbach, Nick Marsit and Mulligan all had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.  Junior Ian Barry moved to 1-1 on the year after pitching a strong 6.2 innings.  Barry surrendered two runs, scattered just three this and fanned three.  JT Trimble struck out the only batter he faced, while Mulligan allowed just one hit and struck out two over the final two frames.

Denison moves to 5-7 overall and 2-0 in the NCAC West Division, while the Tigers fall to 4-9 and 0-2 in division play.  The Big Red returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to Ada, Ohio to take on Ohio Northern University.  First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.  Wednesday game against John Carroll has been cancelled.