GRANVILLE, Ohio – Thanks to a tremendous pitching performance from Perley Provost in game two, Denison baseball improved to 11-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference on Saturday afternoon after they split a doubleheader with the nation's second-ranked team in the College of Wooster on Senior Day, losing game one, 4-3, before rebounding in game two for a 4-2 win.
Following a tough loss in the first game, Denison looked to their staff ace, Provost, to keep the Wooster bats at bay, and that's exactly what he did. In 8.2 innings of work, the senior allowed two runs on nine hits while tallying one strikeout to keep his record clean at 8-0 on the season.
The Big Red bats allowed Provost to work with a lead in the bottom of the second with runners at second and third and two outs. After Tanner Johnson was walked on a wild pitch and took off for second base, Sam Frazen crossed home plate on the play and Noah Hahn advanced to third.
In the next at-bat, senior Jack Blanchard increased the DU lead to 3-0 after his single to centerfield scored Hahn and Johnson.
With the help of a run scored on a wild pitch by Vince Walker in the fourth inning, Provost remained locked in, allowing only four hits through the first six innings of play as he continued to keep the Fighting Scots off the board.
Wooster looked to threaten the Denison lead in the top of the seventh when Drew Tornow sent a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Dan Harwood from third for their first run of the game. The Fighting Scots made it a 4-2 game in the eighth when Michael Wielansky's RBI single off the lip of the infield grass trickled through the right side to score Jake Fling.
In the top of the ninth, Provost managed to record the first two outs of the inning, but he was relieved by Mikey Rivera with the bases loaded. Working his second game of the day, Rivera got Jake Stuursma to swing and miss at strike three for his sixth save of the season and Denison's first win over Wooster in five years.
Hahn kept the Big Red moving offensively with a 3-for-3 performance and a run scored. Blanchard finished the game going 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
In game one, it looked like Wooster would live up to their reputation from the start as one of the top teams in the country. Following an RBI single from Garrett Crum in the top of the first, the Fighting Scots continued to go after Denison's starter Danny Brackman in the early innings, adding three more runs in the second to take a 4-0 advantage.
After the second inning, Brackman began to settle in, allowing two hits and recording two strikeouts over the next four innings pitched. The Big Red offense started to get the best of Wooster's Nanak Saran in the third inning when Johnson connected on a solo home run over the left field wall to make it a 4-1 game.
Denison added two more runs, 4-3, in the bottom of the fourth when Nick Pettigrew scored Blanchard on a bunt single, and Johnson drove home Walker on a groundout to the shortstop.
Denison looked to have chances with the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings, but they were unable to cash in as they ended the day with a record of 25-8, while Wooster moved to 28-5 overall with a 13-1 record atop the NCAC.
Jake Fling led the Wooster charge in game one with a 3-for-5 performance, including an RBI and a run scored. Johnson tallied two runs batted in for the Big Red while going 1-for-4 at the plate. Saran earned the win for the Scots with four strikeouts and three hits allowed over six innings of action. Brackman also lasted six innings, allowing four runs and totaling four strikeouts.
The Big Red will hit the road this Sunday, April 29 for a 1 p.m. first-pitch with Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.