DU earns doubleheader sweep over Alfred State

Max Lahn  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Max Lahn | Photo by Jace Delgado

ATHENS, Ohio -- Highlighted by a five-RBI day from junior Will Krushena, Denison baseball traveled to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio on Saturday where the Big Red swept a neutral site doubleheader with Alfred State College to the tune of 5-3 in game one, and 7-2 in the second game of the day at Bob Wren Stadium.

The Big Red entered game one with senior right-hander Danny Brackman opposing Alfred State's reigning Division III Freshman of the Week, Andrew Santobuono. Brackman opened the game with a hitless effort from the Pioneers in the top of the first, allowing the DU bats to set the tone in the home half of the inning.

In the first at-bat, sophomore Ty Robinson launched a lead-off home run over the right field wall to give Denison an early 1-0 advantage. Two batters later with Grady Paine on second and one out, Krushena connected on a double to right center that scored Paine and increased DU's lead to 2-0.

In the top of the third, a pair of RBI singles from Danny Doran and Josh Laurie allowed the Pioneers to tie the game at 2-2. Despite Alfred State's two runs in the third, the Pioneers committed two consecutive errors to start the bottom of the inning that put Paine on third with one out.

A sacrifice fly from Krushena to right field tallied the junior's second RBI of the game and scored Paine from third to give the lead back to the Big Red, 3-2.

Leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Denison rebounded from the first two outs of the inning after Vince Walker advanced to third on a Pioneer throwing error and Krushena and Max Lahn earned back-to-back walks, loading the bases for junior Brad Baldinger. Baldinger added to the DU lead when he forced a bases-loaded walk that drove home Walker from third. The Big Red led 5-3 after seven innings of play.

Senior Mikey Rivera entered from the dugout for the final two innings and tallied six outs over the next seven batters to notch his first save of the season and give Denison their third-straight victory. The win went to Brackman who finished with two runs on two hits and six strikeouts over five innings of work. Santobuono recorded his first loss of the season after allowing four runs on six hits and totaling four strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

Krushena led the Big Red with two runs driven in, while Paine went 1-for-4 with three runs scored.

In game two, it was the Pioneers who scored first after loading the bases in the top of third with one out. After Doran advanced to first on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, Colin Johnson reached first on a fielder's choice, scoring Mike Gibson from third and giving Alfred State their first lead of the day, 1-0.

The Pioneers carried the lead until the bottom of the fifth when back-to-back errors from Alfred State gave the Big Red runners on second and third with two outs. Just like game one, Krushena came through for DU with a two-out double to right center that scored both runners and gave the Big Red their first lead of the game, 2-1.

Lahn followed with his own double in the next at-bat, scoring Krushena and increasing the Big Red lead to 3-1.

Leading 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh, freshman Cam Farren tallied Denison's final run of the game on an RBI triple to center, scoring Anthony Ruggieri to take a 7-1 lead into the eighth.

Despite a home run from ASC's Brody Burdett in the eighth, freshman reliever Henry Haack collected three-straight strikeouts to end the game and gave the Big Red their first doubleheader sweep of the season.

Denison's Taylor Perrett got the start and pitched 3.2 innings, allowing one run on one hit and finishing with three strikeouts and four walks.  Kenny Lippman picked up his first career victory after pitching 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed one hit while striking out five. Gabe Lewis earned the loss after giving up three runs on three hits and issuing two walks.

Krushena led DU once again with three RBIs and one run scored. Lahn went 2-for-4 with a run driven in and Paine went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two walks.

Denison will return to the diamond on Saturday, March 9 when they host their home-opener with the Quakers of Wilmington College. First-pitch is set for 1:30 p.m.