A ninth-inning rally in game two sent the Big Red to a 9-8 victory over Wabash on Sunday in Crawfordsville. The Little Giants took the opener, 6-5.
Trailing by a run with only two outs to work with seniors Evan Nicholson and Andrew Mahle logged back-to-back singles that put runners on the corners. Drew Rice followed the Mahle base knock with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Nicholson and tied the game at 8-8. The Big Red caught a break when an error by the Wabash second baseman kept the inning alive. The DU bats made the home team pay when Mahle scored the go-ahead run prior to a pickoff at second.
After walking John Holm to lead off the bottom of the ninth, reliever Tim Duxbury corralled a pop out, struck out a batter, and induced a fly out to strand the game-tying run at third.
Wabash jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but a three spot in the third by DU shrunk the deficit to 4-3. In the fifth, Denison pushed across three more runs to take a two-run lead. Senior Tyler Nicholson scored on a throwing error to tie the game at 4-4. Mahle put the Big Red on top with an infield single that scored Evan Nicholson. Justin Vaske added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly that plated Mahle.
The Little Giants answered with a run in the fifth, two in the sixth and another in the seventh to regain an 8-6 lead. In the eighth, Denison trimmed the margin to one when Danny Kraus drove in Vaske on a ground out to second. Senior Joro Forman fanned two in the bottom of the frame to set up the ninth-inning heroics.
Forman (pictured) improved to 2-0 on the year after throwing a hitless eighth, while Duxbury earned his first save of the season. Starter McCavitt Carter allowed five runs on five hits in five innings.
The top four hitters in the lineup were responsible for eight of DU's 13 hits and scored eight of the team's nine runs. Evan Nicholson went 3-for-5 with three runs and three stolen bases, while Mahle was 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. Rice also logged two hits, including a double, with two RBIs and a run, while Vaske drove in a team-best three runs.
In game one, Wabash starter Chris Widup carried a no hitter through four innings, allowing just one base runner via walk. The Little Giants gave their starter some run support with a pair in the second inning and another run in the fourth.
Despite the early lack of offense, DU came alive in the later portion of the game. Denison plated two in the fifth and sixth to take a 4-3 lead, while an insurance run in the seventh made it a 5-3 contest. However, Wabash's Andrew Rodgers tied the game with a two-run single, and Trey Frankhauser drew a four-pitch walk to plate the game-winning run.
Connor Murphy suffered the loss after giving up three runs on three hits in 2.2 innings. Starter Tyler Vaske gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits with seven Ks in four innings of work. Rice and Vaske each posted two hits and scored a run.
Denison (12-25-1) ends its NCAC slate with a 6-10 record, while Wabash (15-22) sits at 6-8 in league play. The Big Red returns to action on Tuesday when they host Kenyon College at 7 p.m.