A four-run seventh inning powered the Big Red to a 6-3 victory over Capital on Tuesday night in Granville, Ohio. With the victory, Denison runs its current winning streak to seven-straight games.
In the bottom of the third, a single and a wild pitch put sophomore Charlie Apfelbach at second with one out. Senior Danny Kraus broke the scoreless tie with a double to the gap in left center that scored Apfelbach, giving DU a 1-0 lead. The next batter, junior Andrew Touhy, laced a base hit up the middle that plated Kraus and extended the Big Red's lead to 2-0.
Back-to-back doubles by Taylor Branisel and Matt Carnahan to lead off the fourth cut Denison lead in half. With the bases loaded and one out, a fielder's choice by Ryan McSweeney knocked in Carnahan to tie the contest at 2-2.
The Crusaders had a prime chance to break the tie in the top of the seventh with runners at second and third with only one out. Denison reliever Ian Walsh got Brian Wyer to strikeout, and induced a ground ball to first baseman Ryan Mulligan. The sophomore made a spectacular backhanded snag and threw a strike to Walsh who just beat Branisel to the bag for the third out.
In the bottom of the inning, Denison took advantage of four walks and a hit batter en route to pushing across four runs. Sophomore Ryan Loehnert opened the frame with a free pass, while a sacrifice bunt by Tim Duxbury moved pinch runner Nick Marsit into scoring position. Another walk to Lowell Hall and an infield single by Lascelles Lagares loaded the bases with one down. The Big Red hitters showed their patience at the plate as Apfelbach and Kraus both drew free passes, driving in Marsit and pinch runner Georgie Montes.
The fourth base-on-balls of the inning forced Capital skipper Matt Grice to bring Adam Journic in from the pen. However, things didn't get any better as he hit the first batter he faced, Touhy, driving in the third run of the inning. Senior Kyle Clemmenson followed with a single to right that scored Apfelbach.
Capital started to rally in the ninth, loading the bases with no outs behind a hit batter, a single and a walk. The Crusaders shrunk the deficit to 6-3 thanks to an RBI base hit by Nate Campbell. That single was all Denison Head Coach Mike Deegan needed to see. With the bases loaded and no outs, the first-year skipper pulled Duxbury from second base and put him on the bump to close out the game. The senior hurler made quick work of Wyer, striking him out on three pitches, and got Branisel to pop out to second. Duxbury nailed down his third-career save after getting Carnahan to chase a high fast ball out of the zone for strike three.
Touhy finished the night 3-for-3 with a stolen base and two RBIs, while Kraus logged two hits, two RBIs and a run scored. Apfelbach also scored two runs and drove in another. Walsh improved to 2-0 on the season after tossing two hitless innings with three strikeouts, while Duxbury struck out two in the ninth.
Branisel had two hits, including a double, with a run scored, while Carnahan recorded an RBI and a run scored. Capital starter Kevin Brennan suffered the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Denison improves to 13-8 on the year, while the Crusaders fall to 12-10. The Big Red returns to action on Thursday when they host Muskingum University at Big Red Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.