Divisional play kicked off in North Coast baseball last weekend with Denison storming out to a 4-0 start in the West with a sweep of Wabash and nationally-ranked Wooster taking three of four against Oberlin to take the early lead in the East standings. League series continue this weekend, highlighted by Kenyon hosting Hiram in the East and DePauw traveling to Wittenberg in the West.
ALLEGHENY split its opening DH of NCAC East action on Sunday with Kenyon, with the Gators winning game one, 8-5, and the Lords taking game two by the same score. In the opener, the Gators scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth to turn a three-run deficit into the three-run final margin. In that eighth inning rally, junior Dan Bonnett (Pen Hills, PA/Pen Hills) drove in two runs on a single to left field, while classmate Chase Davis (Homer, NY/Homer) gave Allegheny the lead on a bases-clearing double to right center. The Gators and Lords will complete their four-game series today (4/3) in Meadville.
DENISON extended its winning streak to 10-straight with a pair of non-conference wins over Heidelberg, 13-8, and Ohio Northern, 8-1, followed by a four-game sweep over Wabash to open NCAC West play. While the Big Red tallied two walk-off wins over the Little Giants, it was the production of the pitching staff that stole the show as they allowed just three earned runs in 36.0 innings of action and limited Wabash to a .156 team batting average. Junior right-hander Perley Provost (South Bend, IN/Culver Acad.) highlighted the effort on the mound with a complete-game shutout in a 4-0 win over Wabash on Saturday. In 15.1 total innings on the week, Provost struck out 15 batters and allowed just two earned runs on 12 hits for a 1.17 ERA.
DEPAUW capped off its spring break trip in Florida last week with a 4-1 record that included a 9-2 win over Thomas (ME) and a three-game sweep of Maine-Farmington. At 16-4 overall, the Tigers are now off to their best start since the 2012 team opened the season with a 17-3 record. Senior catcher Zack Wade (Highland Park, IL/Deerfield) hit safely in four games last week with a .583 (7-for-12) average, highlighted by a 3-for-3 effort in a 5-3 win over Farmington with a double, a homer and four RBI. In the 7-0 win over Farmington, junior left-hander Tyler Holt (Carmel, IN/Brebeuf Jesuit) struck out nine and allowed just two hits in the first 5.0 innings, while classmate Jonathan Azar (Munster, IN/Munster) set the final six batters down in order to complete the shutout.
HIRAM had its scheduled DH at D’Youville on Sunday postponed due to inclement weather.
KENYON picked up a 4-3 midweek win over Muskingum, before splitting a pair of NCAC East games at Allegheny on Sunday that included an 8-5 come-from-behind win in game two. With Allegheny leading, 5-2, after 8.0 innings of play, the Lords erupted for six runs in the top of the ninth to secure the three-run victory. Sophomore Matt Contreras (Beavercreek, OH/Glouecster, MA) got the rally going with an RBI double to left center, while senior Phillip Nam (Republic of Singapore/Hill School) put the Lords ahead on an RBI double down the left field line.
OBERLIN, which lost a 9-1 midweek game against No. 20 Otterbein, led in three of the four games in its weekend series with No. 6 Wooster, but the Yeomen came away with just one win, a 7-3 victory in 10 innings in game two on Saturday. Junior Quin Butler (San Francisco, CA/Hill School), who homered in the victory over the Scots, hit .388 (7-for-18) on the week with two extra-base hits, five RBI and three runs scored.
OHIO WESLEYAN went 3-3 overall last week, picking up a 5-1 non-league win over John Carroll, before bookending its weekend series against Wittenberg with a 15-5 win on Saturday and a 9-7 win on Sunday. Senior first baseman Devin Van Winkle (Plain City, OH/Jonathan Alder) had a monster series against Wittenberg, hitting .368 (7-for-19) with three homers, two doubles, 11 RBI and five runs scored, highlighted by a two-homer and five-RBI performance in the 9-7 win on Sunday.
WABASH hung tough with Denison over the weekend, but ultimately dropped all four games of the series, which included a pair of walk-off wins by the Big Red. The Little Giants were limited to just 20 hits in the four games, led by sophomore Sean Roginski (Lafayette, IN/McCutcheon) collecting six hits in 16 at bats. Senior right-hander Jensen Kirch (Indianapolis, IN/North Central) took the tough-luck loss in the series opener after throwing 10.2 innings of six-hit baseball with seven strikeouts in the 2-1 loss.
WITTENBERG posted a 4-2 record last week, which included non-conference wins over Wilmington, 8-2, and Capital, 9-6, and a split against NCAC West foe Ohio Wesleyan in which the Tigers won the middle games of the series by scores of 6-3 and 8-7. In the 8-7 win on Sunday, freshman Patrick Kenny (Centennial, CO/Regis Jesuit) broke a 7-7 tie in the bottom of the eighth with his first collegiate home run. In six games on the week, junior Timmy Bates (Westerville, OH/South) led the Tigers’ offense by hitting .364 (8-for-22) with three doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and seven runs scored.
WOOSTER, ranked sixth in the D3baseball.com/NCBWA Top-25, dropped a 4-2 decision against Muskingum in its home opener on Wednesday, before taking 3-of-4 against Oberlin over the weekend to kick off NCAC East play. Junior right-hander Nanak Saran (Hudson, OH/Hudson) was nearly unhittable in the Scots’ 10-0 win over the Yeomen on Sunday as he struck out seven batters and retired the final 20 Yeomen in order to complete the two-hit shutout. Offensively, senior first baseman Jamie Lackner (Westlake, OH/Westlake) drove in six runs on the week to become the 18th player in program history to surpass 150 RBI in a career. In the 16-6 win over Oberlin on Saturday, Lackner went 4-for-4 with two RBI and was just a triple shy of the cycle.