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Wild walk-off secures sweep of Oberlin

Taylor Perrett  |  Photo by Craig Hicks
Taylor Perrett | Photo by Craig Hicks

GRANVILLE, Ohio –  Vince Walker scored the game-winning run after a wild pitch allowed him to score from third, ending a wild nightcap at Big Red Field.  Denison baseball improved to 28-8 overall and 13-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference on Wednesday by sweeping Oberlin College, 18-6, and 10-9.

Combining for 53 hits and 43 runs across the doubleheader, the Big Red saved the best for last following a back-and-forth effort in game two.

Helped by a three-run triple from Grady Paine in the bottom of the sixth, Denison carried a 9-5 into the top of the seventh. Oberlin answered DU's four-run advantage with consecutive RBI singles from Amari Newman and Milo Sklar before Derek Martin and Jack McGowan went back-to-back on RBI doubles.

Tied at 9-9 in the bottom of the eighth, the Big Red had an opportunity to score after Ty Robinson led the inning with a walk, and Tanner Johnson moved him over with a bunt single. With one out and runners on second and third, Jack Blanchard popped out to the second baseman and Will Krushena struck out swinging to keep the game tied heading to the ninth.

In the top of the ninth, Perley Provost continued his stellar relief work with three-straight groundouts by the Yeomen. Entering the home half of the inning, Walker reached first on a throwing error by the third baseman to start the inning and advanced to second when Sam Frazen connected on a single to right field.

After Max Lahn moved Frazen to second and Walker to third on a groundout, Oberlin reliever Milo Sklar chose to intentionally walk Brian McAuliffe in the next at-bat. On a 1-0 count, the pitch went wide-left of catcher Brendan Mapes all the way to the backstop, allowing Walker to score the winning run on the wild pitch for Denison's fifth NCAC sweep of the season.

The win went to Provost following 2.1 innings of relief, allowing two hits and recording two strikeouts. He improves to 9-0 on the season and moves into a tie for second place in the DU record books in single-season victories and career wins (20). The Big Red offense was propelled by Frazen's 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored and one RBI. Johnson and Paine both finished 2-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs.

In game one, it was all DU from the start, at the plate, and on the mound. Controlling the game from the hill was freshman right-hander Taylor Perrett who kept the Yeoman hitters at bay with a career-high 10 strikeouts and one run allowed over seven innings of action. The win moved Perrett to 8-2 on the season.

Perrett's dominance on the mound allowed the Big Red bats to swing freely and take the early lead, starting with a two-run home run from Walker in the bottom of the first. Leading 3-0 in the third inning, Blanchard tallied his third home run of the season on a two-run shot over the left field wall, extending the DU lead to 5-0.

Following Denison's third home run of the game coming off the bat of Paine, Oberlin added two runs in the top of the eighth to cut the Yeomen deficit to 7-3.

Leading by four runs entering the home half of the inning, the Big Red exploded for 11 runs on five hits, highlighted by three runs walked in, RBI singles from Krushena, Brad Baldinger, and Jake Ryder, and an RBI double from Johnson.

DU surrendered three runs in the ninth, but reliever Sean Bonner was able to work out of a jam and helped Perrett earn his eighth win of the year.

Blanchard led all hitters in game one with four runs batted in and added two runs scored. Nine Big Red hitters recorded at least one hit in the victory, while Krushena, Johnson, Walker and Noah Hahn each tallied multi-hit performances.

Denison's 28 wins this season ranks fourth all-time in school history, three games behind the all-time record of 31 wins, which was accomplished in 2003 and 2004.

The Big Red will wrap up the regular season this weekend when they travel to Wabash College on Saturday, May 5 for an NCAC doubleheader set to start at 1 p.m. Saturday's twin bill will be followed by their regular season finale at Otterbein University on Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m.  They have already punched their ticket for next week's NCAC Tournament in Chillicothe, Ohio.