Junior Tim Duxbury's two-hit gem helped the Denison Big Red pick up a 4-1 victory over Rhodes College on Sunday afternoon in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Before the junior hurler took the mound, the Denison bats gave him a 2-0 lead to work with. Senior Tyler Nicholson opened the game with a base hit to left field, while a double by junior Danny Kraus put two runners in scoring position with no outs. With senior Andrew Mahle at the plate, a pass ball charged to catcher Mark Lainoff allowed Nicholson to score and Kraus to move up 90 feet. The junior crossed the dish on a sacrifice fly by Mahle.
Despite giving up a single to open the bottom of the first, Duxbury started a double play by catching a bunt attempt by Stewart Martens. He then threw out Lynden Pindling on his way back to first. After that double play, Duxbury retired the next six hitters he faced. In the third, the Lynx had a chance to cut the deficit in half after a hit by pitch and a pair of stolen bases put Travis Perkins on third with two outs. However, a groundout to Jeremy Tirado ended the threat.
Rhodes pushed an unearned run across in the fourth on a fielder's choice, but a two-out pickoff play from Duxbury to Tirado erased the game-tying run at second. Kyle Clemmenson's sacrifice fly in the sixth and Kraus' RBI ground out in the seventh gave Denison a three-run cushion through six and a half.
A throwing error and a hit by pitch put the first two batters of the eighth inning on base. Duxbury got into some trouble after a ground out moved the runners into scoring position. However, the junior struck out Martens and got Matt Burnick to pop out to Tirado to escape the jam.
In the ninth, Head Coach Mike Clark handed the ball to senior reliever Chris Fries. Fries struck out Patrick Kilkenny, and induced a pop out and a ground out to secure Denison's second-straight victory in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Duxbury picked up his first win of the season after tossing eight innings of two-hit baseball. He finished the day with seven strikeouts, one walk and one unearned run. Fries pitched a clean ninth en route to his first save of the year. Rhodes' Jackson Baker suffered the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits in eight frames.
Nicholson and Kraus both went 2-for-4 with a run scored on the day. Kraus and Mahle each had an RBI, while Evan Nicholson logged the other DU hit. Senior Drew Rice and rookie Charlie Apfelbach scored the other two Big Red runs.
Denison improves to 3-3, while Rhodes falls to 7-8. DU returns to action on Monday when they take on defending NCAA Division III national champion and top-ranked Marietta College. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.