BEREA, Ohio -- The 15th-ranked (April 19 D3baseball.com Division III national poll) Baldwin Wallace University baseball team scored 30 runs in 14 innings today and split a non-conference doubleheader against LaRoche (Pa.) College at Heritage Field.
The Redhawks (19-8) won the first game, 20-13 in seven innings, and the Yellow Jackets (22-8) captured the nightcap, 17-3 in seven innings.
In the first game, LaRoche scored seven times in the top of the first inning to take a 7-0 lead. BW came back with three in the bottom of the first and seven of its own in the third to take a 10-7 lead. The Redhawks countered with a nine-run fourth to take the lead for good at 16-10. BW cut its deficit to 16-11 with one run in the bottom of the frame, but LaRoche scored four more times in the fifth for a 20-11 lead. The Yellow Jackets scored once in the fifth and once more in the sixth to end the scoring.
At the plate, BW pounded out 15 base hits. Sophomore second baseman Cole Nieto (Brunswick/ St. Ignatius) led the way by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, his fourth home run of the season and two runs batted-in (RBI). In addition, senior All-American first baseman Kyle Chontos (Pickerington/North), junior All-Ohio Athletic Conference designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/Green), senior All-OAC shortstop Eric Murphy (Brook Park/Midpark), senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC outfielder Zach Ferster (Olmsted Falls) and junior Academic All-OAC center fielder John Taylor (Hudson) each had two base hits.
On the mound, senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC right-hander Cory Waite (Willoughby/ South) started and received a no-decision. He was followed by senior Chuck Jones (Kettering/ Fairmont), freshman Alec Palmer (Oakdale, Pa./West Allegheny), junior Alex Albright (North Royalton), junior Connor Murphy (Westford, Mass./Northeast), sophomore transfer Mitch Kern (Parma/Normandy) and freshman Nick Patrone (Bellaire). Palmer and Patrone each pitched well. Palmer threw two and one-third innings, allowed one base hit and no runs, struck out two and walked one. Patrone also pitched two and one-third scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out one and walked one. Albright was saddled with the loss to fall to 4-1 this season.
In the second game, LaRoche again jumped out to a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. But that's when the BW barrage began. The Jackets came right back and put up a 10-run bottom of the first, one in the second, five in the third and one in the fifth to take an 17-3 advantage and end the scoring.
At the plate, BW pounded out 15 more base hits, including six for extra bases. Nieto, Chontos and junior 2-time All-OAC infielder Mark Zimmerman (Akron/Green) led the way. Nieto was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a triple, homer and a career-high six RBI. Chontos was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, his school-record 55th career double and an RBI. Zimmerman was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. In addition, Handel, Murphy and junior RF Jerry Scholle (Hinckley/Medina Highland) each had a pair. Murphy scored three runs, Handel drove in a trio and Scholle scored twice and drove in one.
On the mound, freshman left-hander Evan Lovick (Mentor) started and pitched the first two innings. He was relieved by Patrone who pitched the final five innings, allowed no hits or runs, struck out five and walked three as he improved to 2-0 this season.
The Yellow Jackets are back in action tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22 when BW travels to Granville, Ohio to play a non-conference doubleheader against Denison University at 5 p.m. This Saturday, April 25, BW hosts OAC rival Muskingum University in a twibill at Heritage Field at 1 p.m.