April 20, 2013

Big Red earns split with Wabash

After dropping a 9-7 decision in Saturday's opener, the Denison offense erupted for 12 runs on 14 hits in a 12-2 eight-inning victory over Wabash in North Coast Athletic Conference West Division action in Granville.

The Little Giants took an early 1-0 lead in game two after plating a run in the top of the first.  However, the Big Red answered in the bottom of the inning with five runs to take its first lead of the afternoon.  DU's five runs came on one hit, two Wabash errors, four walks and a hit batter.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, sophomore Ryan Loehnert tied the game with a groundout to short that scored senior Danny KrausCharlie Apfelbach and Kyle Clemmenson both came around to score on a throwing error by Little Giant second baseman David Oliger.  The Big Red's fourth run of the inning touched the dish when another errant Wabash throw allowed Mulligan to score.  The fifth and final run of the frame crossed the dish when freshman catcher Brandon Morgan was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

DU added to its lead with three more runs in the third inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, Clemmenson knocked in Morgan with a sacrifice fly to center.  With runners at second and third, Mulligan roped a two-out single through the right side that plated Apfelbach and Kraus, giving the home team an 8-1 advantage.

Wabash cut into the deficit with an RBI groundout to short in the fifth inning. In the eighth, the Denison offense hung four more runs that ended the game in the bottom of the inning.  Mulligan drove in his fourth run of the game with a double to deep right center that scored Loehnert.  With runners at second and third, Nick Marsit delivered a two-run single up the middle that knocked in Tim Duxbury and Mulligan.  The final blow came off the bat of Kraus who roped a single through the left side that plated Marsit, giving Denison a 10-run lead.

Mulligan finished 3-for-5 with a double, four RBIs and two runs scored, while Kraus went 3-for-6 with a double, two runs and an RBI.  Marsit and Morgan each recorded two hits, while Apfelbach and Duxbury each touched the dish twice.

In addition to the offensive display, the Big Red also received an impressive performance on the hill from sophomore hurler Kyle Colgain.  Colgain (4-2) successfully retired 11-consecutive Wabash hitters during the early stages of the game, including 1-2-3 outings in the second, third and fourth frames.  The sophomore scattered nine hits, allowed one earned run and struck out eight en route to the complete-game victory.

In game one, Wabash amassed seven runs in the second, third and fourth innings en route to building a 7-3 lead.  Trailing 9-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Denison started its late-game rally.  Back-to-back singles to open the frame put runners at the corners with no outs.  Kraus drove in the first run, Marsit, with a sacrifice fly to second.  Clemmenson followed with a base hit to right center that drove in Apfelbach.  With a runner at first and one out, Loehnert hit his first home run of the season to shrink the deficit to 9-7.  However, a nice play at third on a bunt attempt and a strike out by JT Miller secured the Little Giant victory.

Loehnert drove in a team-best three runs, while Apfelbach and Marsit each scored twice.  Marsit was also 2-for-2 at the plate.  Connor Murphy suffered the loss for DU after allowing six runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings.  Additionally, Apfelbach extended his current hitting streak to 17 games after recording a hit in both games on Saturday.

The Big Red moves to 18-11 overall and 9-5 in NCAC West action, while Wabash moves to 12-17 and 4-6 in division play.  The two teams return to Big Red Field on Sunday for the final two games of their four-game set.  First pitch on Sunday is slated for 12 p.m.