Denison is playoff bound

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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - Denison's miraculous season continued on Saturday afternoon following a 7-5 victory over 15th-ranked Wooster to secure the first North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship in program history. With the win, the 16th-ranked Big Red moved to 38-7 overall and earned an automatic bid into the 2019 NCAA Regional Championship.

Following a 5-3 comeback win over the Fighting Scots on Friday afternoon to force Saturday's game seven of the NCAC Tournament, the Big Red handed the ball to senior John Troll who took command of the strike zone and the Wooster batting order. Troll, who pitched DU to a 5-4 victory over Allegheny in their opening game of the tournament, worked the first five innings against Wooster, allowing one earned run on five hits with three strikeouts. Troll improved to 8-0 on the season.

After Wooster's Jake Stuursma opened the game with a run scored on a balk call, the Big Red responded in the home half of the first when Will Krushena rocketed a two-run double down the leftfield line to score Ty Robinson and Grady Paine and give Denison a 2-1 advantage.

In the bottom of the second, a one-out walk to Cam Farren was followed by a single from Max Lahn to give Denison runners at the corners. In the next at-bat, Paine connected on a three-run home run over the right field wall to increase DU's lead to 5-1.

Leading 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Farren continued his hot week in Chillicothe with an RBI single through the right side that scored Brian McAuliffe from second and gave the Big Red a 7-2 lead entering the eighth inning. Farren finished the tournament with 10 hits, four runs, and four RBIs and was named the NCAC Tournament MVP.

In the top of the eighth, Wooster looked to chip away at their deficit after three-straight hits from Stuursma, Nick Strausbaugh, and Dan Harwood, leading to one of three runs in the inning from the Fighting Scots. With runners at first and third with two outs, senior Danny Brackman tallied the final out of the inning when Christian Julius grounded out to the shortstop and kept the Big Red in front 7-5 entering the final inning.

After a lead-off walk to Wooster's Tyler Chumita opened the top of the ninth, Brackman sat Strausbaugh down with a strikeout for the first out in the inning. In the next at-bat, Stuursma grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and sent Denison to their second-straight NCAA Regional Championship.

Denison was led by Farren's 3-for-3 effort at the plate with two runs scored and a run batted in. Paine went 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs while Lahn and McAuliffe each added two hits and a run scored. Krushena finished the day 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Krushena currently sits at 68 RBIs on the season, which ranks second in NCAA Division III behind PSU-Harrisburg's Travis Van Houten at 69. In the postgame awards, Farren was joined by McAuliffe, Krushena, Paine, and Taylor Perrett as members of the 2019 NCAC All-Tournament team.

Stuursma went 3-for-5 for Wooster with two runs scored, while Dan Gail added two hits and Strausbaugh, Chumita, and Harwood each scored a run. The loss was tagged to Brian Murray who moved to 3-3 on the year.

At 38-7 overall, Denison will move on to the NCAA Regional Championships with dates and a location to be determined on Monday, May 13 at 12 p.m. on the NCAA's Selection Show.