By Noah Gurzenski | Staff Writer
he Lords baseball team opened up North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) play this week with two doubleheaders against defending NCAC champion the College of Wooster. Wooster swept Kenyon in four games, defeating the Lords 10-5 and 9-6 on March 31, and 21-15 and 15-6 on April 1.
“The final scores of the games were not indicative of how close these games actually were,” John Nahra ’16 said. “We led in three out of the four games fairly late, but we failed to execute down the stretch defensively and on the mound.”
Kenyon struck first in the front end of Monday’s doubleheader when Tyler Roldan ’17 smacked a single to right field in the top of the first inning, allowing Casey Rosenfeld ’17 to score from second base. Spencer Byers ’16 fanned five Wooster batters through three innings on the mound, but Wooster broke through in the bottom of the fourth, knocking in four runs on three Kenyon errors to take the lead. Wooster added six runs over the next two innings to make the score 10-1. A four-run seventh wasn’t enough for the Lords, and the Fighting Scots closed out the 10-5 victory in seven innings.
Things started to look up for the Lords in the fourth inning of the following game that afternoon. After Rosenfeld doubled to send Co-Captain Jake Dunn ’15 home from first, Nahra hit a grand slam over the right field fence to put the Lords up 5-1. Jono Chafe ’17 scored from third on a Rosenfeld sacrifice fly in the sixth to give the Lords a five-run lead.
Kenyon’s lead was short lived, however, as Wooster unloaded five runs in the fifth to tie the game at six. In the last frame of the eighth, the Fighting Scots knocked in three more runs for the 9-6 lead and their defense followed up with a 5-4-3 double play to end the game in the top of the ninth.
Both offenses came alive in Tuesday’s doubleheader, as the teams combined for a total of 57 runs. With Wooster holding a 13-1 lead through three innings in the first game, Nahra and Kyle Hardacker ’15 reached home on a Connor Bingham ’17 RBI single in the fourth. Bingham scored from third on Dunn’s RBI single, making the score 13-4 in favor of Wooster. Wooster responded with an eight-run fourth, and despite a three-run fifth inning and eight-run sixth, the 17-run deficit proved insurmountable for the Lords and Wooster cruised to the 21-15 victory.
Kenyon jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, thanks to RBI singles from Hardacker and Rosenfeld and a sacrifice fly from Co-Captain Nate Lotze ’14. After Wooster scored five runs in the next three innings, Roldan doubled to drive in Dunn and Chafe, giving Kenyon the 6-5 lead. Unfortunately, Wooster scored 10 unanswered runs in the next two innings to seal the 15-6 win.
“Wooster is a great hitting team, but we were able to hang with them throughout the series,” Nahra said. “It’s hard to win games when you’re giving up 36 runs in a doubleheader.”
The Lords’ defense made 11 errors in the series and working on the little things will be crucial as the season continues.
“Moving forward, we need to continue to improve as a team,” Dunn said. “With multiple league series left, we need to continue to battle through and hopefully come out with multiple wins over the next few weekends. I think our best baseball definitely is ahead of us.”
The Lords are scheduled for their first home action this weekend at McCloskey Field, with a pair of doubleheaders against Oberlin College. The games start at noon on Saturday and continue at noon on Sunday.
“This team has got a ton of potential moving forward,” Nahra said. “As we continue to grow as a team, I expect us to improve and compete in every game. If we can avoid giving up the big innings, we will be in great shape. I like our chances against Oberlin at home this coming weekend.”