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Muskies outlast Owls in long nonconference outing

GAMBIER, Ohio — The Kenyon College baseball team took a break from its North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) slate, welcoming Muskingum University to McCloskey Field for the front end of a home-and-home with the Muskies. Nine innings, 30 runs, and more than three hours later, the visiting Muskies came away with a 19-11 win over the Owls.

Muskingum improved to 18-14 overall with the win, while Kenyon fell to 16-11 on the season. The Owls will have a chance to flip the script when the teams match up on the Muskies’ home field in New Concord, Ohio. That game is scheduled for a 4:15 p.m. start on Tuesday, April 25.

The first inning set the tone for the high-scoring day. Muskingum started the scoring with a two-out, two-run home run off Kenyon’s Christian Harris, handing the Owls an early deficit. However, leadoff hitter Edwin Groff, one of Kenyon’s few regulars in today’s lineup, crushed his third homer of the season and second in the last two days to put the Owls on the board, 2-1.

However, after the brief scoring outburst, neither team added a run over the subsequent two frames. That changed in a significant way in the fourth inning. In the fourth frame, the two teams combined for 15 runs on nine hits. Unfortunately for Kenyon, Muskingum did most of the scoring when they put up nine runs in the top of the inning.

Three Owls pitchers saw the mound before the inning’s second out, and the Muskies did their damage thanks to five hits, two walks, two errors, and a hit-by-pitch, all after the leadoff batter reached safely after striking out. Down 11-1, Kenyon quickly responded in the bottom of the frame. Two walks and a pinch-hit single from Kyle Dwyer loaded the bases and forced a Muskingum pitching change. Ben Nash promptly cleared the bases by welcoming the new pitcher with a grand slam, the first home run of the junior’s career. After Robbie Coates singled in the ensuing at-bat, Bradley Blasberg blasted his second round-tripper of the season, cutting the deficit to 11-7.

Two more walks had the tying run on deck, but the Owls were stranded as Kenyon’s rally came to a halt. Muskingum reclaimed the momentum for nearly the remainder of the game, scoring in every inning from there on out. The visitors scored two runs in the fifth, seventh, and ninth innings while adding singular scores in the sixth and eighth frames.

The game could have ended in the eighth inning after the Muskies took a 10-run lead, 17-7. However, the teams did not have an expedited outing, as the regular 10-run mercy rule was not acknowledged. 

With the game moving into the ninth inning, Kenyon came up to bat down 19-7. Two walks and a passed ball put two runners in scoring position with no outs, and Niko Price came home on a wild pitch to make it a 19-8 ballgame. Parker Gibbons kept it going with an RBI single, and Tripper Capps hit a two-RBI double a few at-bats later, cutting the score to 19-11. Muskingum brought in its sixth pitcher as Kenyon looked to continue the late rally, but a pair of groundouts ended the game.

Of the 12 Owls to get an at-bat, 10 scored, and nine notched a hit. Coates, Gibbons, Price, and Parker Ellis led Kenyon with two hits apiece, while Nash, Blasberg, and Capps all finished with multiple RBIs.

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