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#18 Big Red pushes win streak to nine with sweep at DePauw

Brian McAuliffe  |  Photo by Tricia Harris
Brian McAuliffe | Photo by Tricia Harris

GREENCASTLE, Ind. – The hottest start in program history continues for Denison baseball as the No. 18/23 Big Red secured their ninth-straight victory on Wednesday afternoon, defeating DePauw University 12-2 in game one before taking down the Tigers in game two, 6-3. The doubleheader sweep sends Denison to 19-2 on the season and 4-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. DePauw falls to 12-8 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

Opening the series with their third-straight conference victory, the Big Red received a balanced attack at the plate and on the hill, led by freshman left-hander Will McManaman. Turning in his longest start of the season, McManaman went seven innings strong while allowing two runs on eight hits and recorded a career-best nine strikeouts.

McManaman's pitching performance was also assisted on the offensive end where the Big Red tallied 12 runs on eight hits, including four home runs by four different players.

After McManaman and DePauw starter Grant Rademacher worked through a scoreless first inning, Denison scored the first run of the game in the top of the second when freshman Daniel Spencer drove home Max Lahn from second to put the Big Red ahead 1-0.

Adding three runs in the third, sophomore Anthony Ruggieri led off the inning with a solo home run to right field that increased DU's lead to 2-0.

Four batters later with runners on first and second with one out, the Big Red added their second run of the inning when Will Krushena reached first on a DePauw fielding error and scored Grady Paine from third. In the next at-bat, Lahn executed a sacrifice bunt to bring home Ty Robinson and give Denison a 4-0 lead.

Home runs from Spencer and Krushena in the fourth helped Denison tally three of their five runs in the inning to help carry a 9-0 advantage into the fifth.

RBI doubles from Spencer Youngcourt and Kyle Callahan moved the Tiger deficit to seven, 9-2, but three DU runs over the final three innings, including a home run by Brian McAuliffe in the seventh, put the run-rule into effect and gave Denison the 10-run victory, 12-2.

Spencer and Robinson recorded multi-hit performance for the Big Red in game one, combining for four RBIs and three runs scored. Krushena also tallied two runs batted in while Paine added three runs scored.

In game two, the starting combination of DU's Kenny Lippman and DePauw's Nick Casey allowed only one hit through the first three innings of action with six strikeouts.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers answered first with a two-run single from Jackson Williams that put DePauw ahead after four, 2-0.

After Henry Haack relieved Lippman in the fifth inning, Haack and Casey kept the game at 2-0 after the seventh following three-straight scoreless innings where the pair tallied three strikeouts.

Entering the top of the eighth trailing 2-0, a lead-off walk to Paine was followed by Robinson reaching first on a DePauw fielding error. With the bases loaded and one out, an RBI single from McAuliffe scored Paine from third, and Robinson from second following a throwing error from DePauw.

A fielder's choice to Brad Baldinger in the next at-bat turned into an advance to second and a run scored by Max Lahn after the Tigers committed their third error of the inning. The Big Red entered the ninth leading 3-2.

DePauw started the top of the ninth with back-to-back errors that helped Carson Wood score on a sacrifice bunt from Vince Walker. Five of DePauw's six errors came in the final two innings of play. Robinson and Krushena added consecutive RBI singles later in the inning to take a 6-2 lead. The Tigers added a run in the bottom of the inning, but the rally wasn't enough as the Big Red held on for their ninth-straight victory.

Haack earned the victory and moved to 1-0 on the season after throwing 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball. Rivera tallied his third save of the season with two strikeouts while DePauw's Casey recorded the loss and moved to 3-2 on the year.

Baldinger led the Big Red with a 2-for-4 performance and one RBI, while Robinson scored two runs. DePauw's Williams also went 2-for-4 and added two RBIs.

The Big Red will look to add to their winning streak on Saturday, April 6 when Denison hosts Allegheny College for a doubleheader set to begin at 12 p.m.