Section: Baseball

Owls soar to 10-3 record in Sunshine State, fall in Ohio

Owls soar to 10-3 record in Sunshine State, fall in Ohio

Yelland shone in his first career start. | COURTESY OF MARTY FULLER

The Kenyon baseball team continued its season in the Sunshine State with 13 games against eight different teams. While there, the Owls went 10-3. With the semester resuming, the Owls also took on Marietta College on Wednesday.

In an email to the Collegian, senior Malcolm Gaynor ’24 shared what spring break means for the team: “It is always meaningful to spend time with the team,” he said. “Florida is a great test for us, as we need to come together and have each other’s backs through a variety of challenges, including personal ups and downs, fatigue, injury, etc.”

The Owls kicked off their spring break games on March 3 against Elizabethtown College (Pa.) with a strong 11-3 win in the first game, before rain interrupted the second game in the second inning, forcing a cancellation. Kenyon took an early lead with runs scored by Ben Zimmerman ’26 and Luke Meister ’24. A powerful four-run second inning propelled Kenyon forward and allowed the Owls to fly past the Blue Jays 11-3.

The following day, Kenyon split a doubleheader with Ursinus College (Pa.). In the first game, Frank Lynch ’25 narrowly missed a complete game, but secured the win for Kenyon, 2-1. The Owls’ offense capitalized early, with Gaynor scoring and Edwin Groff ’25’s RBI single. Ursinus mounted a late challenge, scoring a run in the seventh, but Kenyon held on for its fourth consecutive win. Gaynor highlighted the team’s tenacity: “We go into every game expecting to win, and we keep that confidence and expectation regardless of the game situation. This has allowed us to stay calm and come back from behind and win close games.” 

Game two saw Ursinus pitch a shutout, leading to a 1-0 loss for Kenyon. Jackson Niedel ’26 showed promise for Kenyon despite the loss, but a critical third-inning stretch, including errors and wild pitches, allowed Ursinus to secure the win. Kenyon struggled offensively, with only two hits in the game and was unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

On March 6, the Owls took on Lebanon Valley College (Pa.) in a game that lasted almost four hours. Despite a strong offensive effort with 15 hits and consistent scoring across six innings, the Owls fell short in an 18-10 defeat. With the game tied in the third inning, the Dutchmen surged ahead, capitalizing on Kenyon’s pitching changes and scoring runs in successive innings. Jack Enger ’27’s impressive relief pitching stood out, striking out five batters in two innings. 

Later in the week, Kenyon played a doubleheader against Norwich University (Vt.) at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, securing victories in both games with impressive displays both offensively and defensively. The Owls swept the Cadets, winning the first game 5-2 and the second game by a commanding 11-0 scoreline. Groff was a standout performer, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs, while Gaynor also impressed, going 4-for-7 with two RBIs. Pitcher Theo Canning ’26 earned his first win with a solid performance, and Lewis Cropper ’25 followed suit with a stellar outing, allowing only one hit over 5.0 innings in game two. 

In its doubleheader against Lasell University (Mass.), Drew Robinson ’24 emerged as the hero, delivering a walk-off single in the first game to secure a 2-1 victory. Christian Harris ’25 pitched three scoreless innings in game two, earning his first career save and sealing a 4-2 win for Kenyon. 

“Our pitching has been fantastic to start the year. Having four dominant starting pitchers and a deep bullpen is a recipe for success. Our defense has also been stellar around the board,” Robinson shared in an email with the Collegian. “Overall, I would say defense and pitching have been the main drivers for our team so far.”

Following its off day, Kenyon took on Gettysburg College (Pa.), shutting the Bullets out 9-0. In his first career start, Jackson Yelland ’24 pitched 7.0 innings. In those seven innings, he struck out 10 batters and only allowed three hits, earning him NCAC Pitcher of the Week. Offensive contributions were made by Robinson, Stephen Carr ’24, Gaynor and Meister, solidifying the shutout win for the Owls. 

Yelland credited his time at Kenyon for his success on the mound in an email to the Collegian, “I tapped into my experience and maturity being a senior to fully focus and lock-in for my start against Gettysburg,” he said. “My slider was working really well all game, and I credit catcher Stephen Carr for his work behind the dish and pitching coach Jared Farenchak for his pitch calling.” 

A day later, the Owls propelled their winning streak to six games with a dominant 15-0 shutout against Monmouth College (Ill.) in game one of a doubleheader. Canning had an impressive pitching performance, recording his first career complete game and shutout with 10 strikeouts, only allowing one hit. Kenyon’s offense ignited in the third inning, scoring runs in five consecutive frames, with Meister excelling at the plate, reaching base in all five of his plate appearances.

The Owls carried their momentum into game two, initially leading 4-3, but Monmouth rallied with a late surge, clinching a 12-4 victory. Despite the loss, Robinson stood out for Kenyon with two hits and two runs, contributing to his strong performance across both games.

Finally, the Owls closed their spring trip with a doubleheader win against Western Connecticut College, besting them 8-2 in game one and 6-1 in game two. 

The Owls returned to the Buckeye State on Wednesday, taking on Marietta. The first few innings of the game were uneventful until the fourth, where Robinson scored on a wild pitch and Lee singled, bringing in a run from Groff. The fifth brought runs from Robinson, Ben Resnick ’27, Gaynor and Zimmerman, bringing the score up to 6-0. Marietta gained its footing in the seventh and eight innings, earning two runs in each respective inning, bringing the score to 6-4. The bottom of the ninth brought increased pressure, as the Pioneers had the bases loaded with two outs. As the last batter came to bat, he sent a double into left field, bringing three batters home, leading to a 7-6 loss for the Owls. 

As the Owls look ahead to NCAC play, Robinson is focused. “As a team, we have one main goal: bringing the first NCAC baseball championship to Kenyon. Individually, I try to stay away from chasing any specific numbers or stats. I would say my personal goal is to do everything in my power to help the team win.” 

Next Tuesday the Owls will take on Capital University in their first game at home. Gaynor is looking forward to taking in every moment of his senior season: “There is no group of guys I would rather go out there and play with, we have each other’s backs and pick each other up. I cannot wait to continue to play with this great group of guys, especially as we get our entire team back to take on our northern schedule. I love our guys.”

0 Comments

Comments are subject to review and moderation. We won't publish your email address or send you unsolicited emails.