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Denison splits California twinbill

Nick Smith struck out five en route to his first victory of the season.
Nick Smith struck out five en route to his first victory of the season.

The Denison University Big Red split a pair of games in California on Saturday.  DU blanked Occidental 6-0, but dropped their second contest to Whitter 10-8.

Against the Tigers, senior Nick Smith picked up his first win of the 2011 season after scattering four hits and striking out five in eight innings of work.  The Denison offense was paced by a pair of solo home runs by sophomore Danny Kraus and California native Matt Forgatch.  Kraus led off the game with a homer to right center, while Forgatch opened the ninth frame with a solo jack over the center field wall.

Kraus, Forgatch and junior Tyler Nicholson all logged two hits in the win.  Nicholson scored a pair of runs, while Forgatch and Nicholson each swiped two bags.

In game two, the Poets erased a four-run deficit with a six-run eighth inning.  The Big Red had the game-tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, but Whittier's Taylor Fallon retired three consecutive batters en route to his fifth save of the season.

Sophomore Kyle Clemmenson was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, three RBIs and three runs scored, while senior Peter Krieger and sophomore Tim Duxbury each added three hits and two RBIs.  Reliever Chris Fries suffered the loss after allowing three runs on three hits.  Kraus got the start and surrendered seven runs and struck out eight in 7.1 innings.

Denison (6-7) wraps up their West Coast trip on Sunday (March 20) at the University of Redlands.  First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. PDT.