Section: Baseball

Owls beat Battling Bishops in doubleheader NCAC sweep

Owls beat Battling Bishops in doubleheader NCAC sweep

Meister had three home runs against Ohio Wesleyan. | COURTESY OF BRAD BARR

The Kenyon baseball team opened conference play with a doubleheader sweep of Ohio Wesleyan University on Friday. The Owls scored a combined 29 runs in the wins, bringing their record to 14-4 (2-0 NCAC).

In the opening game of the doubleheader, the Owls’ bats got off to a hot start, as Kenyon put up five runs in the second inning. After a trio of walks loaded the bases, Drew Robinson ’24 stepped up to the plate and smacked a two-run single into left field. Malcolm Gaynor ’24 was then hit by a pitch to load up the bases once again for Edwin Groff ’25, who came through in a big way with an infield single to shortstop that scored a run, followed by a throwing error that brought in another. The troubles did not end there for the Battling Bishops, however, as an error by the Ohio Wesleyan third baseman on a grounder by Tripper Capps ’24 allowed for Gaynor to come in to score.

In the fourth inning, a hit by pitch to Robinson and a single by Gaynor brought Groff back to the plate, whose fly ball to left field caused an error by the Battling Bishops and brought in a run. Capps then smacked a double to left-center field, bringing Gaynor home. After a pair of sacrifice flies by Dustin Lee ’25 and Luke Meister ’25, the Owls tacked on another couple of runs to bring the score to 9-1.

Later, in the fifth inning, Robinson hit a big double into left-center field that scored Nate Rosen ’25 and Ben Zimmerman ’26 to extend the lead. Robinson did not stay on base for long, though, as he came around to score from a herculean home run by Capps, extending the lead to 13-1. The Owls did not stop there, as an RBI double by Rosen in the sixth inning and a solo home run by Gaynor in the seventh inning capped off the big afternoon with a 15-2 run (mercy) rule victory. Rosen, who went 3-for-4 in the contest, wrote in an email to the Collegian, “I’ve just been sticking to my approach at the plate and tried to put together a quality at-bat every single time I go up there,” he said. “[Head] Coach [Matt] Burdette and [Assistant] Coach [Ronnie] Krsolovic have been super helpful in my maturation as a hitter, so I also credit a large part of my success to the coaches.”

The pitching was also superb for the Owls in the blowout win, as Theo Canning ’26 pitched five innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts. The win brought Canning to 3-0 on the season, and he explained his improvement from his rookie season in an email to the Collegian: “I’ve been doing a good job of limiting free passes and getting weak contact early in counts which I had trouble with last year. I also have a tremendous defense behind me that allows me to be aggressive and attack hitters to get quick outs and double plays which has allowed me to go deeper in my recent starts.” Christian Harris ’25 then came on in relief to pitch the final two frames, giving up only one run while recording a career-high six strikeouts. 

Kenyon carried its momentum into game two, capitalizing on Ohio Wesleyan errors and strong baserunning from Robinson and Gio Giuliani ’27 to take a 4-0 lead after two innings. In the home half of the second inning, a pair of Battling Bishops home runs and three free passes knocked game two starter Frank Lynch ’25 out of the game with the Owls protecting a slim 4-3 advantage. Though Ohio Wesleyan tied the game with a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, Kenyon escaped the inning without any further damage. 

From then on, the Owls began to flex their offensive muscles. In the top of the third with Capps on first base, Meister hit a mammoth two-run home run to center field to give Kenyon a lead it would not surrender. In the very next inning, after Robinson came around to score on a series of errors, Meister gave an encore performance, again homering with Capps on base, this time to give Kenyon a 9-4 lead. Each team added on a run in the fifth inning before Meister completed the hat trick in the sixth, going deep for a third time. Meister saw consistency in his approach as being key to his career day at the plate. “I was really focused on getting my best swings off every at bat,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I tried to stay confident and tried not to let any distractions influence how I was playing.”

One batter later, Lee added on a home run of his own, before an RBI double from Rosen gave Kenyon a 13-5 lead through six innings. The Owls added another run in the top of the eighth inning, taking advantage of a Battling Bishops defense that committed nine errors across the doubleheader. Though Ohio Wesleyan added on a run in the bottom of the ninth, Kenyon came away with a 14-6 win and the series sweep.

For a Kenyon team that had failed to score double digit runs since mid March, Robinson, who went 6-for-9 with four RBIs, knew the Owls’ offensive explosion was inevitable. “Our power numbers had been down coming into the OWU series compared to last year,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We were due for a big series and it was only a matter of time before the offense came to life. From the first inning of the game we caught fire and kept the train moving through the day.” 

Capps, who drove in three runs and scored four, sees Kenyon’s strong start against conference opponents as key to continued success. “Starting out 2-0 in conference play is huge for us, not only from a standings perspective but also just from a confidence standpoint,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Last year, we had a bit of a slow start in conference play, so it is really good to have a fast start and use that momentum going forward in the season. If we continue to play like we did this past weekend, we can be as good as anyone.”

The Owls will host the No. 3 Denison University Big Red on Saturday for their home opener. Though Kenyon will face a mighty foe, Capps is focused on the team’s larger goal of an NCAC Championship. “To me, nothing else really matters except for that one thing, and that has been the ultimate goal surrounding our program,” he said. “I really love our guys, and, if we continue to play for each other and with each other, the sky is the limit for our team.”

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