Section: Baseball

Baseball begins season with doubleheader sweep on road

Baseball begins season with doubleheader sweep on road

Groff went 4-for-8. | COURTESY OF BCI PHOTOS

Swinging into the new season, the Kenyon baseball team opened its 2024 campaign with a doubleheader against Miami University Hamilton (Miami-Hamilton). After three games were canceled due to inclement weather last week, the Owls swept the Harriers with two wins on the road. The team is now 2-0 to start the season.

For Dustin Lee ’25, Sunday was the perfect way to start the season, “The team we played yesterday [is part of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association], and was runner-up in their national championship, so it was nice to start the year against a good and competitive team and get some wins,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “These games really get the nerves out of the way for everyone.”

The scoring started in the first inning with a single from Lee, bringing in Malcolm Gaynor ’24 for an early Owls lead. The Harriers responded with a home run, followed by a two-RBI shot, putting them ahead 3-1. Kenyon fought back in the second inning, as Stephen Carr ’24 grounded out, bringing in a run. The third inning saw a power display from Edwin Groff ’25, who homered to tie the game at 3-3. Kenyon continued to capitalize on errors, with a Drew Robinson ’24 single and a Tripper Capps ’24 ground out, scoring two more runs.

The Harriers attempted to close the gap in the third with an RBI single, bringing the score to 5-4. However, the Owls extended their lead in the fourth when Lee reached on an error, allowing Ben Zimmerman ’26 to score. The back-and-forth play continued in the fifth inning, with another RBI double for Miami-Hamilton, narrowing the gap to 6-5. Despite their efforts, neither team scored in the remaining innings, solidifying Kenyon’s victory and giving Frank Lynch ’25 his first win of the season and Jack Enger ’27 his first collegiate save. 

In game two, Lewis Cropper ’25 started on the mound. Kenyon opened the scoring once again with an RBI single from Capps, setting the tone for an offensive showcase. Moments later, Ben Russell ’27’s three-run homer put Kenyon up 4-0. Miami-Hamilton was then able to respond with a homer and RBI double, narrowing the gap to 4-2. In the third inning, Lee’s RBI single extended the lead to 5-2, but the Harriers answered back with an RBI single of their own in the same inning.

Lee’s second RBI single in the fifth inning gave Kenyon a 6-3 lead. However, the drama peaked in the seventh inning, with Robinson and Carr contributing RBIs for Kenyon, while Miami-Hamilton fought back with a double and sacrifice fly. Despite a late rally from the Harriers, the Owls held on to secure the 8-6 win and give Colin Shue ’27 his first collegiate save. 

Groff, who went 4-for-8 in the doubleheader and was named a Preseason All-American in January for his contributions to the team, has high expectations for the Owls this season. “Obviously our eyes are set on the NCAC title, but truly I believe this team has what it takes to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament,” he said in an email to the Collegian. “We are a very experienced group with a surplus of talent up and down the roster and I’m beyond excited to see what we can accomplish.”

The Owls are gearing up for spring break in Florida, where they are slated to play 15 games. Groff gave credit to the work the team is putting in to prepare for the Sunshine State: “Our guys are preparing for the spring break trip with a full slate of practices, live at-bat sessions and bullpens throughout this week,” he said. “The coaching staff and trainers have done a great job of getting us prepared for the Florida trip this year.”

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