WOOSTER, Ohio – Junior Dan Harwood hit a pair of home runs to power the eighth-ranked College of Wooster past longtime Mideast Region rival Marietta College 8-7 on Wednesday afternoon at Art Murray Field.
Wooster (7-4) was down one in the fifth, but that quickly changed when Harwood lifted a payoff pitch out to left center for a go-ahead, three-run round-tripper. Prior to Harwood's dinger, senior Jacob Stuursma set the table out of the leadoff spot with a single down the left field line, and two batters later, junior Dan Gail's aggressiveness at the dish resulted in a poke over Marietta (6-10) shortstop Drew Wilkinson.
During his prior at bat, Harwood blasted a no-doubter well over the right field fence in the third inning, which tied the game at four. That would've been a two-run shot, except for Stuursma came all the way around to score when Marietta started playing hot potato with the ball. Etta Express starter John Stover skipped a pickoff attempt past first baseman Mike Hale, which enabled the Scots' speedster to move up to third. Then, Hale's attempt to get Stuursma at third sailed over third baseman Damian Yenzi's outstretched glove, giving Stuursma enough time to scamper home.
Wooster was all over Stover from the get-go, as the lanky right-hander was tagged for two runs on four hits in the first. Sophomore Noah Clement hooked a double just inside the first-base line and scored on Harwood's two-out base knock. Senior Chandler Dippman later drove in Harwood with a sharp single through the right side.
However, Marietta pulled ahead 4-2 in the third inning when Wooster came unglued defensively. Hale plated the first two runs of the inning on a single, and Wooster's usually slick-fielding defense chalked up a pair of errors that later equated to two runs.
Marietta struck for two in the eighth to pull within one, and had the tying run on third base in the ninth inning before freshman Colin Springer worked his magic to get cleanup man Jonathan Pingree off balance on a payoff pitch for the game-ending strikeout.
Junior Christian Julius picked up his second win of the year with two innings of scoreless relief in support of sophomore Andrew Hill, while Springer collected his second save.
Senior Harrison Walls threw out a pair of would-be base stealers during the game.
Harwood finished 3-for-3 for the game with five RBI and a walk. Junior Harry Witwer-Dukes followed Harwood in the lineup with a pair of base knocks.
Yenzi tallied two of Marietta's seven hits, while Jared Strickler took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in 2/3 innings.
Next, Wooster's slated to open North Coast Athletic Conference play at DePauw University (12-6) at noon on Saturday.