Freshman Ben Gbur delivered the go-ahead RBI in the top of the 11th inning, and a spectacular defensive play in the bottom of the frame helped preserve the win, as the 10th-ranked College of Wooster baseball team needed extras to top host La Roche College 6-4 on Sunday afternoon at Pittsburgh, Pa.
"Our freshmen helped us a lot today," said head coach Tim Pettorini. "Ben with the go-ahead RBI, Tyler with the sacrifice bunt, and Colin got out of it. Colin bounced back (after the home run) and kept us alive. That's what you have to do when you're on the road. Our young guys are starting to grow up a little bit."
Junior Nick Strausbaugh doubled to lead off the 11th inning, and Wooster (13-4) caught a break when Tre Cunningham mishandled freshman Tyler Chumita's sacrifice bunt. Gbur reached on a fielder's choice with Strausbaugh coming in on the play, and the Scots' right fielder later scored on senior Chandler Dippman's RBI two-bagger. Senior Jacob Stuursma gave Wooster a three-run cushion at 6-3 when he scored on junior Harry Witwer-Dukes' fielder's choice.
In the bottom of the inning, junior Aaron Spidell kept Wooster in front by two when he got to Joe Professori's double down the left field line in time to start a 7-6-2 relay with junior Dan Gail applying the tag on Austin Hoffman just in time for the second out of the inning. Stuursma back-handed Jay Novak's grounder to short and made the play at first base for the final out of the game.
Wooster carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Brandon Nania homered off of freshman Colin Springer (1-0) to start the frame. The Scots' closer kept his composure and set down the next three batters, including Professori, who fouled out to first baseman Garrett Crum for the final out in the ninth.
An inning later, Springer bounced back from allowing a pair of two-out baserunners to ring up Dylan Urban on a 1-2 offering.
Wooster's first two runs of the game came all the way back in the first inning. Dippman, who reached on a one-out walk, scored when Urban booted Harwood's two-out single to center. Harwood made it a 2-0 game when he trotted home on Crum's RBI base knock.
In the sixth, Gbur's hustle earned him an RBI, as the rookie reached on a two-out infield single.
La Roche twice pulled within one on sacrifice flies prior to Nania's game-tying round-tripper.
Stuursma and Dippman combined for five hits and a pair of runs out of the top two spots in Wooster's lineup, while Crum and Strausbaugh delivered two base knocks each.
Senior Brian Murray toed the rubber for the start and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. Junior Christian Julius worked the bottom of the 11th for his first save of the year.
Nania was a thorn in the side of Wooster's pitchers all afternoon. He finished 3-for-5, while his teammates combined for five other hits.
Wooster, which scored 68 runs in its first five games of the week, was kept in check by La Roche starter Tre Thomas, who allowed three runs (one earned) on eight hits in seven innings.
Noteworthy, Wooster's now won nine straight games. The Scots have hit .403 (129-for-320) and posted a 3.12 ERA during that stretch.
Sunday was originally scheduled as a doubleheader for Wooster and La Roche, but inclement weather forced the cancellation of game two.
Next, Wooster hosts Otterbein University (12-10) for a showdown of 2018 conference champions. First pitch for Thursday's single game is set for 4 p.m.