DU sweeps series with Tigers
Denison completed the series sweep of North Coast Athletic Conference foe Wittenberg following a pair of victories on Sunday afternoon in Granville. The Big Red took game one 7-2, before pounding the Tigers in the nightcap, 16-4. This weekend marked DU's first NCAC West Division series sweep since the 2010 season when they took all four games at Wabash.
The Big Red offense jumped all over Wittenberg starter Kevin Tolle in the opening inning of game one. Denison pushed across four runs on four hits, including two extra-base knocks. Junior Andrew Touhy had an RBI single to scored Danny Kraus from third, while a base hit up the middle by Ryan Mulligan scored Touhy and Kyle Clemmenson. Mulligan eventually came around to touch the dish on a ground out by Charlie Apfelbach.
In the fourth, Kraus added to the DU lead with a two-run double to right center that plated Brandon Morgan and Tim Duxbury. The Tigers scored a pair of unearned runs in the fifth to shrink the deficit to 6-2, but a single through the right side by Duxbury allowed sophomore Ryan Loehnert to score from second.
In addition to the strong offensive showing, the Big Red also received a solid outing on the bump from junior hurler Connor Murphy. Murphy faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four frames, inducing seven ground outs while striking out four more hitters. The junior did allow a single in the third, but that base runner was quickly erased trying to steal second. Murphy scattered three hits, struck out six batters and allowed two unearned runs en route to his first win of the season.
Much like they did in game two on Saturday, the Big Red offense scored at least one run in six of their eight plate appearances. Denison scored the first nine runs of the contest, including a five-run second inning. Duxbury opened the scoring with a two-run double to left that plated Loehnert and Mulligan, while senior Lowell Hall followed with a two bagger to left center that knocked in Duxbury. With two on and one out, Kraus belted a double to center that drove in Hall and Nick Marsit. DU's third double of the inning ended Tiger starting pitcher Mike Burgher's day.
The Big Red added two more runs in both the third and fifth innings to take a commanding 9-0 lead. Wittenberg got back into the contest with a four-run top of the sixth, but a solo run in the sixth, two more in the seventh and a four-spot in the eighth secured the win and kept Denison in the top spot of the NCAC West Division standings. Georgie Montes legged out an RBI pinch-hit triple in the sixth, while Lascelles Lagares blasted a two-run pinch-hit home run in the seventh.
Kraus (2-0) earned the win in game two after surrendering four runs (two earned) on seven hits with three Ks in 5.2 innings of work. Ian Walsh and Philip Seay combined to scatter two hits over the final 3.1 frames.
Duxbury went 6-for-6 on Sunday with two doubles, a home run, six RBIs and five runs to pace the Big Red at the plate. Kraus hit .500 (4-for-8), including three doubles, and drove in five runs. Denison also got a 5-for-8 performance from the catcher position on Sunday. Morgan went 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base in game one, while Hall was 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and four runs in the second game.
With the sweep, Denison improves to 12-8 overall and 6-2 in the NCAC West, while the Tigers fall to 12-7 and 3-5 in divisional play. The Big Red returns to the field on Tuesday when they host Capital University at 7 p.m.