The top-ranked College of Wooster baseball team capped its first week in Florida with a second win over ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins University, as the Fighting Scots exploded for a seven-run second inning en route to a 13-7 victory on Saturday at the former Boston Red Sox Player Development Complex in Fort Myers.
Wooster's (4-1) second inning was truly remarkable, as all the damage came with two outs. Junior Harry Witwer-Dukes slapped the first of eight consecutive hits by the Scots into left field, and he scored two batters later when classmate Aaron Spidell legged out an infield single. At that point, Wooster turned over the lineup with seniors Jacob Stuursma and Chandler Dippman ripping back-to-back singles to make it a 3-0 game.
"That was pretty awesome," said head coach Tim Pettorini. "We scored all of our runs with two outs today. It was really clutch that our guys got in there, hung in, and battled against really quality pitching. I was really happy with the way they performed today."
The Scots' three-through-five hitters made a lot of noise in the inning with junior Dan Harwood smoking an RBI double to left, senior Garrett Crum delivering a well-placed RBI single into left, and junior Dan Gail hustling out a run-scoring opposite-field three-bagger, which capped the scoring plays.
A run and two hits were the only blemishes on Dippman's (1-1) pitching line through the first four innings, but the Blue Jays (9-3) strung together a three-run fifth behind a trio of singles.
Johns Hopkins pulled within one in the sixth on James Ingram's three-run homer.
In the seventh, the familiar blueprint consisting of Spidell and junior Nick Strausbaugh keyed a two-run rally. Strausbaugh led off the inning with a walk, and moved up to third base by way of two wild pitches. That set the table for Spidell's two-out two-bagger, and Spidell sprinted home on Stuursma's two-out base knock.
Wooster tacked on three more runs in the eighth, all of which came with two outs.
Wooster, which pounded out a season-high 20 hits, had four base knocks from Stuursma and three from Spidell. Wooster's one and nine hitters combined for six RBI in the game.
"Every ball Jacob's hit since the first day has been right on the nose," said Pettorini. "He's been really right on every pitch it seems like. He's playing just great in the field too to complement it. It's what you expect out of a senior. We lost the national player of the year, and he's really trying to fill that void."
Tim Kutcher was the lone Blue Jay with a multi-hit game.
Senior Wyatt Linde and freshman Ben Gbur pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for Wooster.
"Wyatt was particularly good," added Pettorini. "He came in and really shut the door down. Johns Hopkins had some momentum to get within a run. We answered back, which was huge for us, and then Wyatt took the life out of them with the way he threw.
"We're trying to bring along a couple freshmen pitchers for late in games, and Ben has really good stuff," continued Pettorini. "It's nerve-racking because he's not throwing it in there as much as I like to see, but he has really good stuff. Once he really starts attacking the strike zone, I think he's going to be really good."
Next, Wooster takes on Eastern Connecticut State University (2-4) at 11 a.m. on Sunday in Punta Gorda, Florida.