GRANVILLE, Ohio -- Starters Zack Huarte and Perley Provost combined for 18 innings of one-run, 14-strikeout baseball as the Big Red swept their North Coast Athletic Conference West Division opener with Wabash on Saturday afternoon. Denison walked off with a 2-1 victory in 11 innings in the opener before posting a 4-0 shutout to extend their current winning streak to eight games.
In the conference opener, the Little Giants grabbed the early lead when Cole Harlacher scored on a ground out to third by Henry Wannemuehler in the second. Wabash clung to that lead for six scoreless innings until the bottom of the eighth. With one out in the eighth, sophomore Grady Paine dropped a pinch-hit single into left before being replaced by pinch runner Nick Pettigrew. Junior Jack Blanchard followed the Paine single with a base hit up the middle that moved Pettigrew to third. Pettigrew came around to score the game-tying run when Blanchard's single was misplayed by the center fielder.
After the Big Red evened the score at 1-1, Huarte returned to the hill for his ninth inning of work. The junior sat down the side in order to complete his seventh-consecutive scoreless inning. During that span he retired 14-straight batters from the third frame to the seventh.
Senior Connor Hanrahan entered in the 10th, stranding two in his first inning on the mound. Hanrahan found his grove in the 11th, retiring the side in order to keep Wabash off the board for the ninth-consecutive inning.
In the home half of the 11th, Little Giant starter Jensen Kirch quickly recorded the first two outs. Just one out away from going to a 12th frame, senior Phil Papaioannou decided to bring the game to a dramatic end. Papaioannou sent the first pitch from Kirch over the center field wall for his first-career home run to walk it off for the Big Red.
Hanrahan picked up his first win of 2017 after tossing two scoreless frames of one-hit ball. Huarte went nine strong innings, striking out four and issuing one free pass in the no decision.
In the nightcap, Provost (3-1) threw his first-career complete-game shutout after surrendering just three hits while striking out a career-high 10 batters over the course of nine innings. The junior threw 102 pitches and faced the minimum in six of his nine innings pitched.
Pettigrew provided his starting pitcher with some run support with a base hit through the right side that scored Tanner Johnson in the second. Denison's lead remained 1-0 until the seventh frame. With the bases loaded and one out, Papaioannou hit a ground ball back to Luke Lant, who just entered the game in place of starting pitcher Bryan Roberts. The ground out by Papaiannou allowed Blanchard to score to make the score 2-0. Johnson followed with an infield single that not only scored Eric Zmuda from third, but also plated Evan Flax from second base.
Johnson finished game two 3-for-3 with two RBIs, a run scored and three stolen bases. Pettigrew and Blanchard recorded DU's other two hits, while Zmuda, Flax, and Blanchard represented Denison's other three runs.
The Big Red improves to 14-3 overall and 2-0 in the NCAC West with the sweep, while the Little Giants fall to 11-7 and 0-2 in divisional play. Denison and Wabash will close out their four-game series on Sunday (April 2). Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled to start at 12 p.m.