WOOSTER, Ohio – The 20th-ranked College of Wooster baseball team's offense clicked in all phases, and the Fighting Scots survived the first of two elimination games on Saturday with a 13-2 win over Otterbein University at Art Murray Field.
Wooster (27-13) now waits on the loser of the game between Case Western Reserve University (23-13) and the University of Rochester (29-15). First pitch of Wooster's second elimination game is set for approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. An official start time will be posted on the athletic department's Twitter account at the conclusion of the CWRU-Rochester game.
"Obviously, it was a little better day than yesterday," said head coach Tim Pettorini. "I really think the key was getting out to a good start, being a visiting team and putting up a number. That helped everybody relax. You've got young guys who are battling and playing their guts out. They didn't get too down after yesterday's ball game. They came out and battled. We've got a steep hill to climb. You can't do it without getting started on the right foot today, and we did that."
Wooster senior Jacob Stuursma walked to lead off the game, and it was all systems go for the Scots' offense, which plated runs in six of their nine trips to the dish. Stuursma touched home for the game's first run on junior Dan Harwood's single up the middle, and it was 2-0 early when classmate Harry Witwer-Dukes parked a 0-1 pitch into the left center gap for a two-bagger.
Junior Nick Strausbaugh kept the wheels in motion with a leadoff double in the second, and the Scots had runners on the corners after junior Dan Gail's bunt single. That marked the first of three bunt singles for the Scots in the game, and Harwood motored to first on a checked-swing in the sixth inning. In fact, Stuursma knocked in a run on his second-inning bunt single when he attempted a suicide squeeze and was the beneficiary of nobody covering first base.
Later in the second, Wooster's heart of the order – Harwood and senior Garrett Crum – deposited back-to-back RBI singles into the outfield to up the score to 5-0.
Wooster tacked on a pair of two-out runs in the third, and freshman Tyler Chumita's two-out bunt single was a big reason why. That turned the lineup over to Stuursma, who delivered with a two-run two-bagger. Stuursma's monster morning carried over to his next at bat, during which he logged an RBI single in the fifth, and he upped the RBI count to five in the sixth with a sacrifice fly.
Prior to Stuursma's sacrifice fly, Crum blasted a two-run round-tripper out to left, which made it a 10-0 game, and Witwer-Dukes motored around the bases on Strausbaugh's two-bagger down the left-field line.
Back-to-back walks to Harwood and Crum kept the pressure on come the seventh, and Witwer-Dukes obliged with Wooster's 17 hit of the morning, which knocked in Harwood.
Otterbein threatened throughout, but didn't break through on the scoreboard until the eighth. That's when Matthew Gibson belted a two-run homer to right.
Freshman Dylan Carr (2-0) collected the win with two innings of shutout relief in support of sophomore Evan Faxon, who allowed three hits in his four shutout innings, and could be a candidate to come back on short rest should the Scots advance beyond today.
Carr ran into trouble in the sixth after a leadoff single and walk, but freshman Ben Gbur came to the rescue. The Scots' right fielder cut down Tim Snyder at third base on a fly out-throw out twin killer.
Wooster's other big defensive highlight came in the ninth when junior Christian Julius tracked down a foul ball up against the first-base fence.
Stuursma went 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored, while Wooster's three though five hitters – Harwood, Crum, and Witwer-Dukes – combined to go 8-for-13 with seven RBI.
Luke Barber had three hits in the game, including a solo shot in the ninth.