Warm weather welcomes homers, but Wooster cools Kenyon

GAMBIER, Ohio — The Kenyon College baseball team finally got a chance to enjoy some fantastic spring weather on their first beautiful day at McCloskey Field this season, but it was The College of Wooster who enjoyed a pair of wins at the Owls’ expense. The Fighting Scots wrapped up each end of the twin bill early, winning 12-2 in seven innings before a 19-9 victory in eight frames.

The warm weather helped heat up the bats for both teams as dingers accounted for 11 Wooster runs and eight Kenyon scores. Wooster’s first four runs in game one came by way of the long ball as Dane Camphausen came up with two round-trippers in his first two at-bats. The senior made it 3-0 in the top of the first with a two-strike bomb, contributing to a 38-pitch first inning for Frank Lynch, who lost his first game this season.

Tripper Capps cut into the Owls’ deficit with a no-doubt homer on the first pitch of the bottom of the second, but Camphausen got the run back with another two-strike solo shot to lead off the third frame. Kenyon kept battling back as Kyle Dwyer made it a two-run game with an RBI single in the fourth, but the Fighting Scots finished off the Owls from there.

Wooster added a run in the fifth before a five-hit, four-run sixth inning. The visitors held Kenyon to just one hit over the final three frames, and three more runs in the seventh inning provided a 10-run advantage that allowed Wooster to clinch an early win due to run rule.

Wooster appeared to be in for a strong start in game two as their first two runners reached, and they loaded the bases with just one out. Jackson Niedel issued a walk that brought an unearned run home, but the sophomore bounced back in a big way with consecutive swinging strikeouts to get out of the jam. 

Niedel struck out two more in the second, and Kenyon picked its pitcher up with two singles before a Wooster wild pitch tied the game at 1-1. The Owls loaded the bases with no outs, but all three runners were stranded.

Camphausen made his mark yet again with a leadoff home run in the third, but Robbie Coates prevented more damage when he threw a runner out at home to end the inning. The Owls answered when Niko Price battled back from an 0-2 count to work an RBI walk, but Kenyon left the bases loaded again with the score tied at 2-2.

After a scoreless fourth frame, Niedel was replaced by Sam Richards in the fifth. The senior lasted just two outs after giving up four runs on two singles, a double, and a home run. When the dust settled at the end of the inning, Wooster had hung 10 runs on four Kenyon pitchers after six hits, including a grand slam on the first pitch thrown by Kai Caso.

Kenyon got in on the home run action in the bottom of the sixth when Bradley Blasberg and Malcolm Gaynor blasted a pair of two-run bombs to pull within six at 12-6. Blasberg’s pinch-hit round-tripper was notable as it was the first-year’s first hit of the season.

The Fighting Scots added a run in the sixth off of Dalton Hastings, who pitched well in his first intercollegiate appearance. Jackson Yelland replaced Hastings two batters into the top of the eighth, and Wooster pushed its advantage to 19-6 after four hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. Yelland gave way to senior Ryan Beach-Verhey, who struck out the first batter he faced in over a year after a season-ending injury in 2022.

Parker Ellis made things interesting with a three-run homer in the eighth inning, the first of the first-year’s season, but Wooster clinched the early ending with a 19-9 victory. Wooster improved to 9-10 overall and 4-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), while Kenyon fell to 13-8 and 1-3 in the NCAC after winning its conference opener.

The Owls have a few days to move on from the doubleheader sweep before heading to No. 13-ranked Denison University (16-4, 4-0 NCAC) for a twin bill on Saturday, April 8. The first pitch is scheduled for noon in Granville, Ohio.

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