WOOSTER, Ohio – The friendly confines of Art Murray Field resulted in a big Wednesday afternoon, as the 10th-ranked College of Wooster baseball team clubbed seven home runs, while defensively, the Fighting Scots turned a quartet of double plays during a 12-0 and 19-8 sweep over visiting Hiram College.
"Our guys get up to Art Murray Field, see the wind blowing out, and have a smile on their face," shared Tim Pettorini, the Scots' veteran skipper. "They get excited to play and it showed. That's kind of the way we play. We're not apologizing for it. It's a good thing. We have a lot of work to do yet, but that part was good."
Wooster (9-4, 2-0 North Coast Athletic Conference) wasted no time getting to work in each game, as the Scots' four-run first inning in game one was upstaged by a nine-run outburst in game two. In the nightcap, junior Dan Gail blasted the first of four first-inning round-trippers over the center field batter's eye, and sophomore Nick Strausbaugh followed that up with a solo shot off the left field foul pole. Later in the inning, Wooster went back-to-back again, this time with seniors Jacob Stuursma and Chandler Dippman logging the final two dingers, with Stuursma's going in the books as a two-run shot.
Dippman's round-tripper marked a milestone of sorts for the senior. While it went down as his fifth career home run, it's the first one that didn't come on the final weekend of the regular season.
Hiram (5-12, 0-2 NCAC) worked itself back into the nightcap, and was within four at 12-8 before the Scots tacked on seven runs in the sixth. Gail and Strausbaugh started the rally with back-to-back singles before senior Ethan Myers delivered a pinch-hit three-run shot for his first collegiate home run. First-year Ben Gbur kept the pedal to the metal for Wooster's offense with a single and stolen base, and he later scored on junior Harry Witwer-Dukes' two-run two-bagger. Senior Garrett Crum upped the lead to 18-8 when he drove in a run while reaching on an error and Witwer-Dukes scooted home on a wild pitch for the final run.
Senior Wyatt Linde picked up his first win of the season in the nightcap. The left-hander allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
Starter Shawn May was saddled with the loss for Hiram. The left-hander didn't make it out of the first inning after allowing eight runs on five hits.
Earlier in the day, Wooster turned a trio of double plays behind Dippman and sophomore Jay DiBacco during the duo's combined five-hit shutout. First, Witwer-Dukes cut off a grounder up the middle to start an inning-ending 4-3 two-for-one in the first. Then, Stuursma did likewise with a pair of 6-3 twin-killers that ended the sixth and seventh innings.
Witwer-Dukes jolted the offense in the first, as the Scots' second baseman lifted a 1-2 offering out to left center for the first two runs of the game. The Scots' continued to roll later in the first with Gail's RBI single upping the lead to 3-0, and Strausbaugh knocking the lead out to four via a RBI ground out.
Wooster, which scored in five of its six trips to the dish in game one, tacked on three runs in the second. Sophomore Noah Clement's sacrifice fly enabled Gbur, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning, to score, while Witwer-Dukes' RBI poke plated Stuursma. Junior Dan Harwood knocked in the third run of the inning with a single to right.
Tyler Iversen stole the spotlight come the third inning with his first career home run out to left field, while Witwer-Dukes' two-run double in the fifth upped Wooster's lead to 11-0.
Dippman improved to 3-1 on the season. The right-hander kept Hiram in check with four hits – all singles – in five innings of work.
"Chandler wasn't overpowering, but just finds a way to miss barrels and gets double play balls when he needs them," added Pettorini.
Justin Humphry fell to 1-3 after allowing eight runs on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Eight Scots logged multi-hit afternoons, with Witwer-Dukes' 5-for-7 showing headlining the efforts. Witwer-Dukes hit for the cycle on the day, had seven RBI, and scored five times.
Vince Suso was the Terriers' top offensive standout in the doubleheader. He went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a RBI.
Wooster's five-game homestand continues with a 4 p.m. tilt against Muskingum University (6-13) on Thursday.