The Big Red baseball team split a doubleheader with 16th-ranked Case Western Reserve on Saturday afternoon at Nobby's Ballpark in Cleveland, Ohio. Denison won the opener 8-2, and saw their late-game rally fall short in a 10-6 loss in game two.
Junior pitcher Ian Barry was spectacular on the mound for DU. The Big Red hurler threw 116 pitches over the course of nine innings en route to his third victory of the season. Barry surrendered just two runs, scattered nine hits and struck out a season-high tying six.
Barry's gem got plenty of support from the Denison offense. The Big Red took a 2-0 lead in the third off the strength of three hits and a walk. After Charlie Apfelbach drew a walk to lead off the inning, the junior moved into scoring position after swiping second base. Apfelbach came around to score on a double to right center by classmate Ryan Mulligan. After a bunt single by Andrew Touhy put runners at the corners, Mulligan crossed the dish on a base hit through the right aide by Duncan Moran.
DU poured on four more runs in the top half of the sixth inning. Freshman Tucker Davison scored on an error after Nick Marsit dropped a single into left field. Apfelbach eventually drove in Marsit, while an error on shortstop Andrew Frey allowed Apfelbach and Brandon Morgan to touch the plate.
The Spartans shrunk the deficit to 6-2 with a sacrifice fly and infield single in the sixth, but single runs in the eighth and ninth helped Denison secure its first win over a nationally-ranked team this season. Apfelbach scored on a Mulligan sacrifice fly to center in the eighth, while a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher by Morgan scored Georgie Montes in the ninth.
Mulligan, Marsit and Morgan all recorded two hits and a run. Mulligan also drove in a pair, while Morgan pushed across a run. Apfelbach was 1-for-3 with an RBI, three runs scored and three stolen bases.
Frey, Kerrigan Cain and Antonio Damiano all had two hits to pace the Case Western Reserve offense. Spartan starter Daniel Sondag (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits with nine strikeouts.
In the nightcap, the high-powered Case Western offense got to work early, scoring five runs in the first four innings. After single runs in the second and third innings, the Spartans plated three in the fourth frame behind a pair of singles. Denison got on the board in the fifth on a Case Western throwing error by second baseman Cain and a ground out by Zac Lewinski. The home team answered those two runs with a solo tally in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead through six frames.
The Big Red started making things interesting in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Lascelles Lagares was struck by a pitch to score Alex Enrique. Lewinski followed with a single to left center that scored Davison and Mulligan. The final run of the frame scored on an error by first baseman Zach Tobias. The Case Western offense scored twice in the bottom of the eight, while reliever John Fortunato retired the side in the ninth to secure his first save of the year.
Mulligan finished with two hits, while Lewinski drove in a team-best three runs. Lagares also finished with a hit, two runs and an RBI. Johnny Funkhouser suffered the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts.
Denison moves to 17-15 on the year, while the Spartans are now 29-9. The Big Red returns home on Sunday for a pair of seven-inning games against John Carroll. Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled for 12 p.m.