GRANVILLE, Ohio – Thanks to an impressive performance on the mound from senior Perley Provost, Denison baseball outlasted the weather and their opponent on Wednesday evening, defeating Kenyon College 5-3 at Big Red Field in Granville for their ninth-straight win.
After their previously scheduled doubleheader in Gambier was postponed, DU opened as the away team on Wednesday, giving Provost a lead to work with throughout the night.
Leading 1-0 after an error scored Tanner Johnson to put Denison up early, Provost settled in through the first three innings, recording one strikeout and keeping the slate clean on three hits.
The Big Red bats went back to work in the top of the fourth when sophomore Brian McAuliffe launched an RBI single up the middle to score Jack Blanchard, and two batters later, McAuliffe crossed home plate on Nick Pettigrew's sacrifice fly to center field. Denison took a 4-0 lead on Kenyon starter Patrick Craig following an RBI single from Johnson that scored freshman Max Lahn from third.
Provost got touched up in the fourth and fifth innings for two runs but left a runner stranded in the fifth as he recorded his fourth strikeout on the night to KC's Matt Contreras. DU carried a 4-2 advantage into the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh with one out, Grady Paine capitalized on his second home run of the year, sending a solo shot over the right-field wall to extend the Big Red lead to 5-2.
After Provost and Kenyon reliever Ross Scheinberg worked swiftly through the eighth, the Big Red looked to tack onto their lead in the ninth with runners on first and third and one out. With Sam Frazen at the plate, Paine advanced on the throw to Kenyon's shortstop Paul Siciliano as Johnson looked to come home. Siciliano threw back to the catcher who tagged Johnson out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Following a five-minute rain delay, Frazen flew out to right field sending the game to the home half of the ninth.
Entering the bottom of the ninth, junior Mikey Rivera relieved Provost after eight innings of two-run baseball with five strikeouts. With two outs and a runner on second, KC's Mikey Arman singled up the middle to score Max Warren and cut the Lords' deficit to 5-3. Rivera erased all hope for Kenyon as he got Jake Brown to strike out swinging in the next at-bat to tally his fifth save of the season and post an 8-1 conference record for the Big Red.
The win moved Provost to a perfect 6-0 on the season with 33 strikeouts in 44 innings of work. Paine had the biggest day for DU, notching a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Denison now sits at 20-6 on the season, which includes their longest winning streak since last season when they combined for a program-best 12-straight wins from March 18 – April 8, 2017.
The Big Red will return to the diamond on Saturday afternoon as they host Ohio Wesleyan University for a doubleheader set to begin at 12:00 p.m.