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Denison takes down #20 Marietta again

Jack Blanchard  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Jack Blanchard | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  A three-run seventh inning highlighted by a two-run inside the park home run by Vince Walker propelled Denison to a 6-4 victory over No. 20 Marietta on Thursday night at Big Red Field.

Denison and Marietta played a classic on April 14 at Don Schaly Stadium that saw the Big Red prevail 10-9 in 10 innings.  This one had a similar post-season feel to it as the Pioneers jumped out to a 2-0 lead off of Big Red starter John Troll in the first inning.

DU got on the board in the bottom of the third on a Grady Paine sacrifice fly that scored Max Lahn.

In the top of the fourth, Marietta's Danian Yenzi blasted a home run to left field to take a 3-1 lead.  Denison answered in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to center by Walker that scored Will Krushena who led off the inning with a base hit.  After a sacrifice bunt by Brian McAuliffe moved Jack Blanchard and Walker to second and third with only one out, Marietta starter Austin Eaton worked out of the jam with back to back strikeouts.

In the home half of the sixth Denison tied the game at 3-3 on a throwing error by Eaton that allowed Will Krushena to score from second base.  With Walker at the plate and Blanchard on first, Walker dropped a sacrifice bunt attempt in front of the mound.  Eaton's throw was air-mailed over the head of the first baseman. The ball hit off the fence in short right field, allowing Krushena to score from second.

In the seventh, Marietta went to their top reliever, David Stover, who entered with a sub-2.00 ERA and a team-best 8-1 record.  Paine led off with a walk and Frazen's sacrifice bunt moved him to second.  With two outs, Blanchard laced an RBI single to center to give Denison its first lead.

Walker followed with an opposite field hit to right.  With the ball breaking away from the right fielder he made a diving attempt on the play but it got past him and rolled to the fence.  Blanchard scored easily and Walker turned on the jets.  He rounded third and slid into home just before the throw to the plate.  It was Walker's third home run of the season.

Mikey Rivera, who came on in the sixth in relief of Troll, pitched a scoreless eighth.  Denison head coach Mike Deegan turned to senior starter Perley Provost to pitch the ninth.  He allowed one run but got Chris Petrucci to ground out to Noah Hahn at second with the potential tying run at second base, ending the game.

Troll allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings while striking out two.  The win went to Rivera who pitched three innings and gave up only one hit while striking out four.  In eight innings this season against Marietta, Rivera is 2-0 with 10 strikeouts and a 1.12 ERA.  Provost picked up his first save of the season and the fourth of his career.

Denison's 4-5-6 hitters, Krushena, Blanchard, and Walker combined to go 6-for-11 with four RBIs.  Walker was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and one run scored.  Tanner Johnson's 21 game hitting streak came to an end. He was 0-for-3 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt.

The Big Red moves to 24-7 while Marietta drops to 22-10.  Denison will host the College of Wooster on Saturday, April 28 in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.