CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Senior utility ace Chandler Dippman did it all – hit, pitch, and field – while he had plenty of support from a strong all-around team effort in the 15th-ranked College of Wooster's 10-4 win over Wabash College, which opened the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at V.A. Memorial Stadium on Thursday. In Thursday's nightcap, Wooster ran away from 16th-ranked Denison University, 19-3.
"I don't think we could've draw it up much better," said head coach Tim Pettorini. "Chandler pitched great in the first one and gave us 8 1/3 innings. That really helps you since it saved our pitching. We had some timely hitting versus Wabash. Then, Evan was really good and the bats really showed up against Denison."
Wooster (26-10) is now in Friday's championship round, which is currently slated to start at 2 p.m. Allegheny College (21-16) is set to face Wabash (21-18) in an elimination game on Thursday night with the winner playing Denison at 10 a.m. with a spot in the championship round on the line. This marks Wooster's 21st appearance in the championship round, where the Scots will attempt to capture tournament crown No. 14. The NCAC has sponsored a tournament since 1991.
Senior Jacob Stuursma was instrumental in helping Wooster take the lead in the fifth inning against Wabash. The Fighting Scots' shortstop singled up the middle to start the frame, advanced to second on junior Dan Harwood's opposite-field blooper, and swiped third at a key moment. That forced Wabash to play the infield in, but Stuursma had a great jump on junior Harry Witwer-Dukes' slow chopper, which forced his counterpart, Eric Chavez, into throwing Witwer-Dukes out at first. Next, Dippman blasted a 1-0 pitch from Wabash's Kase Lawson beyond the right field wall. That upped Wooster's lead to 5-2, and the Scots never looked back.
In the seventh, Dippman tacked on another run with a one-out two-bagger, and the Scots were up 7-2 after junior Dan Gail's smash drove in pinch-runner Ben Hines.
One of Wooster's biggest storylines of the year came in the eighth inning. That's when Sam Severance delivered a pinch-hit RBI single. The hit was the first of the season for the Scots' senior who missed all of last year while undergoing treatments for osteosarcoma.
Prior to Severance's memorable at bat, Stuursma teed off on a 3-1 pitch for a round-tripper to dead center. Wooster kept breaking the game wide open with Witwer-Dukes tacking on two runs with a double down the left-field line.
Dippman (7-3) worked 8 1/3 innings on the bump, and his line included four runs (three earned) on 11 hits. The utility ace gained a full head of steam late and faced the minimum in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, the last of which he navigated in just five pitches. However, the senior ran out of gas, and senior Wyatt Linde came on for the final two outs of the game.
Dippman's all-around skillset as the Scots' primary third baseman lent itself to the senior at a key juncture. In the third, the first two Little Giants reached, and Sean Roginski attempted to sacrifice them over. Dippman charged in and snapped a throw off to third in time to retire lead runner Jared Wolfe. Back-to-back flyouts squashed the rally.
Gail and Wabash's Andrew Jumonville tied for the game-high with three hits each.
After falling behind 1-0, it was all Wooster come the bottom of the first inning. Senior Garrett Crum's single tied the game at one, and Harwood sped home when Witwer-Dukes laid down a sacrifice bunt.
Denison's pitching staff struggled with control all game long leading to 11 walks and four batters reaching on hit by pitches. Two of those free passes were issued during the Scots' five-run second inning, which was capped by Harwood's three-run blast to center.
Wooster broke the game wide open in the fourth inning, as the Scots scored seven times despite only having three base knocks in the inning. Freshman Ben Gbur provided the power with a grand slam, while earlier in the inning, runs came in when Witwer-Dukes was hit by a pitch and Gail drew a bases loaded walk.
Sticking with Gail, the Scots' backstop tied the program's single-game record for walks in the fifth inning. The junior drew a free pass on each of his first four trips to the plate.
Prior to Gail's fourth free pass of the game, Dippman drove a two-out double up the alley in right center. That marked the utility ace's fourth RBI of the day, as Crum came in to score after legging out an infield single earlier in the inning.
Sophomore Evan Faxon (6-1) toed the rubber and went 5 2/3 innings while allowing one run on five hits, which were paired with six strikeouts. Sophomores Jack Jones, Jay DiBacco, and Steve Spidell worked the final 3 1/3 while allowing zero earned runs.
Harwood and Strausbaugh combined to go 6-for-9 with six runs on the night, while Gbur's four RBI marked the game high.
Max Lahn's two-run double marked the Big Red's biggest knock of the game.