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Bats Boom in No. 25 Baseball’s OAC Sweep of Wilmington

Freshman shortstop Alex Ludwick hit his first two collegiate home runs in the first game against Wilmington (Photo courtesy of Jesse Kucewicz)
Freshman shortstop Alex Ludwick hit his first two collegiate home runs in the first game against Wilmington (Photo courtesy of Jesse Kucewicz)

BEREA, Ohio – The bats came alive as the 25th-ranked Baldwin Wallace University baseball team hammered six total home runs in an Ohio Athletic Conference sweep of Wilmington College on Fisher Field.

BW (17-7, 3-3 OAC) defeated Wilmington (8-16, 0-6 OAC) by scores of 8-2 in the first game and 14-4 in the second game.

Runs were hard to come by for the first few innings until senior All-OAC catcher Trent Kaltenbach (Plain City/Jonathan Alder) hit the first of BW's home runs with a solo shot to left center. After Wilmington would take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, freshman shortstop Alex Ludwick (Brunswick/Padua Franciscan) clobbered his first collegiate home run over the right field fence, tying the game up at 2-2. The Yellow Jackets plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth highlighted by Ludwick's second home run of the game, a two-run blast to right center that gave BW a comfortable 6-2 lead. Not to be left out of the home run parade, sophomore left fielder Dudley Taw (Sheffield Lake/Brookside) hit his OAC-leading seventh home run to cap off the scoring in the first game.

At the plate, Taw led the Yellow Jackets with a 3-for-4 performance with two runs batted in. Senior center fielder Chase Knodle (Poland/Seminary), sophomore third baseman Jacob Bonner (Akron/Archbishop Hoban) and Ludwick each notched two base hits while Ludwick had a team-high three RBIs.

Senior American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-Mideast Region and All-OAC pitcher Evan Lovick (Mentor) tied for the OAC lead in wins with five after throwing six innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and one walk. Junior left-handed pitcher Jack Raines (Akron/Archbishop Hoban) went three innings for his second save on the season, allowing just two hits and one walk with three strikeouts. 

In the second game, the Yellow Jackets picked up right where they left off as Taw hammered a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. BW would add three runs in the third but Wilmington remained within two runs of the lead at 5-3 heading to the bottom of the sixth. With two outs in the inning, the Yellow Jackets would strike for seven additional runs, including a two-run triple from Ludwick and a three-run homer by sophomore first baseman Lane Niemann (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South), marking the first home run of Niemann's career. Two more runs would come for BW, one each in the seventh and eighth while Wilmington would get one back in the top of the ninth, making the final score 14-4.

Niemann had a career day at the plate with three hits and three RBIs, both career-high marks for the sophomore. Senior All-OAC infielder Spencer Badia (Bellaire) also banged out three hits and two RBIs while Bonner, Taw and Ludwick were each good for two hits apiece. Ludwick had a team-high four RBIs and Bonner came around to score three runs.

On the mound, junior righty Danny Cody (Medina/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) went four innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk while recording five strikeouts. However, sophomore lefty Michael Hubert (Cincinnati/Oak Hills) got the win with four solid innings of relief, allowing one run on four hits and six strikeouts.

BW will be back in action on Tuesday, April 10, when the Yellow Jackets hit the road for an OAC doubleheader with Ohio Northern University at 1 and 4 p.m. at Wander Field.