On Saturday, the Kenyon baseball team dropped a close doubleheader to No. 13 Denison University. Facing their first ranked opponent this season, the Owls lost each game by less than three runs, bringing their record to 13-10 (1-5 NCAC).
Game one in Granville was a true pitchers’ duel, as Kenyon’s Theo Canning ’26 went toe-to-toe against Denison’s Charlie Fleming. Canning was stellar in seven innings of work, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits, while striking out six batters. Unfortunately, Fleming, named NCAC Baseball Pitcher of the Week, was even better. The Owls only mustered five hits and twice stranded Edwin Groff ’25 in scoring position after a leadoff extra-base hit. The Kenyon defense helped Denison’s offense, as an error in the fourth inning put the go-ahead run on second and a sacrifice fly gave the Big Red the only offense they would need. A second sacrifice fly in the sixth inning sealed the 2-0 win for Denison.
In game two, Denison opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. After an error put the leadoff man aboard, the Big Red added two runs before tacking on another run in the bottom of the third. Kenyon’s previously quiet offense came alive in the top of the fifth inning, as the Owls scored six runs on five hits, three errors and a wild pitch. Tripper Capps ’24, who helped to break the inning open with an RBI single, praised the team for its relentless approach at the plate. “Playing against a team like Denison, you have to be able to score some runs because they have a super talented lineup and pitching staff,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Our hitting approach was really good in the second game, and the guys did a great job racking up 11 hits against one of the best pitching staffs we have seen all year.”
After the two teams traded runs over the next two innings, Kenyon held an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. Unfortunately for the Owls, the Big Red took advantage of a series of mistakes throughout the inning. After a hit-batsman and two walks loaded the bases, a balk cut the Owls’ lead to one run with only one out. In the same at-bat, Denison plated the go-ahead run with a single to center field, and Kenyon fell 9-8.
Despite losing both games, game two starter Lewis Cropper ’25 found positives in the losses. “Obviously, it’s frustrating that we dropped them both, and that our conference record is 1-5, but these games prove that we can compete with anybody,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “This should help us build some confidence going forward, especially against teams in our conference.”
The Owls will next play on Monday, when they face off against non-conference foe Wilmington College at McCloskey Field. Cropper highlighted the game against the Quakers as a chance for the Owls’ bullpen to grow. “We can give a bunch of guys opportunities, and I’m confident that some new faces will experience success, which can really help us win some conference games going forward,” he said.
While Kenyon has faced difficulties recently, Capps is excited to see what the team can accomplish down the stretch. “We have a super close team, and I think everyone knows what we are capable of accomplishing as a unit,” he said. “It will be exciting to see how this team does the rest of the season.”