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Baseball falls at NCAC tourney

After falling 3-2 to Wabash College (21-20, 12-5 NCAC) last week in its second game of the double-elimination North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, the baseball team was upended by Ohio Wesleyan University (23-15, 11-5 NCAC) 10-2 and was forced to hope for an at-large bid to the national tournament this week.

Last Thursday, Wooster (20-14, 9-4 NCAC), the number one seed in the NCAC tournament, started play with a miraculous come from behind victory against archrival Wittenberg University (20-18, 9-5 NCAC).

Heading into the fifth inning and down 10-1, Eddie Reese ’14 blasted a two-run homerun into right center field that ignited the Scots’ laser show.

Wittenberg’s continuous influx of relief pitchers did little to quell the rally, as Zach Vesco ’11, Craig Day ’14, and Michael Wellstead ’13 all punched in runs to bring the deficit to three at the end of the fifth.

The end of the fifth inning did little to stop the Scots’ offense, as Zach Mathie ’14 and Day both pounded balls out of the park in the sixth, sending in five runs and ending the inning up 12-10. By the ninth inning Wooster was up 17-12, but needed a Matt Barnes save with two outs and the bases loaded to seal the victory.

The next day Wooster took on conference foe Wabash in a defensive struggle, ultimately falling 3-2 after a pop up in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. After leading 2-1 in the eighth inning, Wabash pushed ahead after a series of mistakes by the Wooster infield.

Down one in the ninth inning with two outs, Mathie stepped to the plate and surgically knocked the ball to right field for a double. After Wabash walked the next two batters, Day flied out to end the game and push Wabash ahead to the championship round.

With one loss, Wooster was placed in the losers bracket and needed to sweep the rest of its games in order to secure the championship and an automatic big to the NCAA tournament.

The Scots’ next opponent, long time nemesis Ohio Wesleyan, brought out its best pitching to cruise to a 10-2 victory and send Wooster home with its second tournament loss. Wooster was unable to crack the Battling Bishop’s pitcher Steve Skarsten, who finished with a complete game, until Michael DeBord ’12 punched a two run RBI in the ninth inning.

Ohio Wesleyan continued on and eventually fell to Wabash in the championship game, giving the Little Giants their first NCAC crown.

With the conference tournament over, Greg Van Horn ’11 continues to lead the Scots in hitting, batting a .429 percentage. Out of his 48 hits so far this season, 24 have brought in runs.

Following Horny is Mathie with a .351 hitting percentage. Mathie, along with Day, lead the team in home runs with five apiece, respectively.

Leading the Scots in wins on the mound has been Justin McDowell ’11, who has amassed a 5-1 record this season with a 3.86 ERA. Although they do not have as many wins as McDowell, Keenan White ’14 and Matt Barnes ’11 have posted stellar ERA this season. White leads the starters with a 2.81 ERA while Barnes follows close behind with an ERA of 2.96.

Without the automatic bid given to the NCAC champion, the Scots’ chances at making the NCAA tournament depend directly on their ability to sweep the last five games of the season.

Wooster played a doubleheader against Heidleberg University (26-9)Wednesday before travelling to John Carrol University (16-15, 10-5 OAC) the next day. These contests happened after press time.

The Scots finish regular season play tomorrow when they battle Ohio Wesleyan in a doubleheader at Art Murray Field. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m.

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