Section: Baseball

Baseball off to a scorching 9-3 start in the Sunshine State

Baseball off to a scorching 9-3 start in the Sunshine State

Robinson was one of two Owls to win NCAC Player of the Week. | COURTESY OF JOSH DUCHENEAUX

The Kenyon baseball team started its season with a successful spring break trip to Florida. While in the Sunshine State, the Owls went 9-3 and had two players win NCAC Baseball Player of the Week honors.

According to Drew Robinson ’24, it was the perfect way to kick off the 2023 season. “I can’t think of a better way of starting the season than the Florida trip,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Not only do we get to escape the Midwest weather and play in the warm sunshine, but we also get the chance to grow close as a team.”

In the first few matchups of the season, Kenyon faced Thiel College (Pa.), winning both games. On March 5, Kenyon capitalized on a pair of errors to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. After allowing a run in the bottom of the second inning, Theo Canning ’26 settled in and pitched three scoreless innings. After adding more runs in the seventh and eight innings, the Owls soared to a 10-3 victory. The Owls picked up where they left off against the Tomcats on March 8, winning 16-3.

In between the two Thiel games, Kenyon split a doubleheader against Elizabethtown College (Pa.). Though the Blue Jays threatened late, Liam Rosengren ’24 and Edwin Groff ’25 worked out of two bases-loaded jams to win 12-8. Unfortunately, the second half of the doubleheader was not as kind to the Owls, as the Blue Jays took the game 15-6.

On March 10, Kenyon got off to a hot start against Wheaton College (Ill.), leading 7-3 after the fifth inning. Though Canning had been solid through the first four innings of his start, the Thunder loaded the bases after a trio of singles. With no outs recorded, the Owls called on Rosengren to pitch in relief, and, though two runners crossed home plate, Kenyon still held a 7-5 advantage. After both teams added on runs over the next three innings, the Owls led 9-6 and were three outs away from victory. After the Thunder cut the deficit to one run, Wheaton’s third baseman hit a solo home run to send the game to extras. With two outs in the tenth inning, Kenyon capitalized on a throwing error, a single and a hit by pitch to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Dustin Lee ’25 delivered the go-ahead runs with a single to left field, and the Owls tacked on another run to take a 12-9 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Though the Thunder again loaded the bases, Abe Wingfield ’26 got two fly outs before striking out the final batter looking.

Robinson, who went 3-for-6 in the Wheaton game and earned NCAC Baseball Player of the Week honors for his contributions to Kenyon’s strong first week in Florida, was particularly proud of how many players contributed to the team’s strong start to the season. “I thought a few other guys on our team could’ve won Player of the Week too,” he said. “So overall I’m excited for how many guys are contributing to the early success this season.”

Kenyon returned to the field the next day for two games against Penn State Behrend (Pa.). After the Lions picked up an 8-2 win in game one, the Owls responded with a 9-1 win. Behrend drew first blood after Lewis Cropper ’25 loaded the bases and allowed a two-out RBI, before Robinson threw out a runner trying to advance to third to end the inning. In an email to the Collegian, Cropper credited his teammate’s defensive gem for putting him back on track: “My teammate and friend made a big time play, and it lit a fire in me. I started to settle in after that, and got into a groove throughout the rest of the game.” From then on, Cropper was excellent, holding the Lions off the board and striking out 12 batters across the next six innings of work. 

With much of its starting lineup on the shelf against Washington College (Md.), Kenyon suffered an 11-2 loss on March 12. Three days later the Owls were again on the winning side of a blowout. Kenyon defeated Lasell University (Mass.) 12-2 in seven innings (mercy rule). 

The Owls got back on the field one day later and swept a doubleheader against the College of Mount Saint Vincent (N.Y.). In game one, the Owls picked up an 8-4 win. In game two, Cropper continued his strong start to the spring, pitching another seven-inning complete game in the Owls’ 5-0 win.

Looking to return to Gambier with a four-game winning streak in hand, Kenyon closed out its spring break trip with a 15-2 victory against Marywood University (Pa.) on Friday. The 13-run margin of victory is the Owls’ largest of the season thus far.

Groff, who went 11-for-18 in the second week and brought home Kenyon’s second NCAC Baseball Player of the Week honors, praised the team for its success throughout the trip. “The team did a great job of competing throughout the two weeks, no matter the opponent,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “It was also great to see some new guys take advantage of their opportunities to help the team when needed.”

Kenyon will host a quartet of games against the non-conference Illinois Institute of Technology on Saturday and Sunday. Robinson believes the team’s home opening series will be an important test. “With four games coming up this weekend, we need to acclimate ourselves to get ready for some different weather,” he said. “Additionally, because we have four games in two days, everyone on the team will need to be ready to contribute.”


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