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Owls score 29 runs over 14-inning DH sweep

GAMBIER, Ohio — The Kenyon College baseball team bounced back in a big way with two dominant victories over the Illinois Institute of Technology after coming out on the wrong end of yesterday’s doubleheader sweep. The Owls made quick work of the Scarlet Hawks in both games, winning 11-0 and 18-4 in two games that ended in seven innings due to run rule.

Kenyon combined excellent offense, pitching, and defense in the team’s first games at McCloskey Field. Sweeping the home-opening twin bill boosted the Owls’ record to 11-5, while IIT fell to 7-9.

The Owls tallied 29 runs on 26 hits over the two wins, capping the day with a season-high 18 runs in game two. The double-digit run totals made it nine times in 16 games that Kenyon has scored 10 or more, and the offense is averaging 11.6 runs per game in winning efforts. The sixth inning proved to be the turning point in both games as the Owls put up eight runs in the sixth in game one and 10 sixth-inning runs in game two to bring the run rule of leading by 10-plus after seven innings into play on both occasions.

Kenyon inched ahead in game one by scoring a run in the first, third, and fourth inning. Frank Lynch (2-0) kept the Scarlet Hawks scoreless through six innings, striking out seven while allowing seven hits and two walks. The sophomore earned his second win as the Owls won for the third time in his three starts.

The bottom of the sixth sealed the deal for Lynch and the Owls as Kenyon’s offense scored eight runs with two outs. All the runs were unearned, and Kenyon did their damage with just three hits, thanks to two IIT errors. Stephen Carr collected two of those hits, including a two-RBI double in his second at-bat of the inning, while Tripper Capps hit a two-RBI single in the middle of the offensive outburst.

With Kenyon holding an 11-0 edge after the dust settled, Andrew Catron closed out the win with a scoreless inning of work. Nate Rosen went 3-3 with three runs and a walk, while Edwin Groff, Capps, and Carr each batted in two runs.

The momentum stayed with the home team in game two as the Owls went ahead 4-0 with a four-run second inning. Rosen remained red-hot with a two-out RBI single, and Drew Robinson added three runs with one swing in the ensuing at-bat after a home run to straightaway center field.

Illinois Tech’s first run of the day came in the third inning, but the Owls responded with three more in the fourth frame. Kenyon was in the driver’s seat with a 7-1 edge, but the Scarlet Hawks managed to keep it interesting. Jackson Niedel (1-0) was lifted after allowing a leadoff single following four solid innings. The visitors greeted Sam Richards with a double before a three-run long ball that cut Kenyon’s lead to 7-4. The blast changed the feel of the game as IIT threatened to repeat yesterday’s comeback success, but Richards got out of the inning after a groundout and two strikeouts.

Robinson missed out on making it two round-trippers in a row in the next inning, coming up a foot or two short of a would-be grand slam that turned into a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to the warning track. Richards struck out two more batters in the sixth, paving the way for Kenyon’s offense to take over in the bottom of the inning.

The Owls promptly sandwiched a single with two doubles to lead off the inning, sparking a 10-run outburst that featured seven hits and one IIT error. Kyle Dwyer, Niko Price, Rosen, Robinson, Malcolm Gaynor, Groff (2), and Parker Gibbons batted in runs as Kenyon extended the lead to 18-4.

Groff and a new platoon of Owls came in to close out the contest, and Groff struck out two to strand three Scarlet Hawks on the bases to clinch the doubleheader sweep. The sophomore contributed on both sides of the ledger after going 4-5 with three RBIs, three doubles, and two runs.

Rosen racked up four more hits in game two, going 4-5 with three runs and two RBIs. The sophomore finished his day with a stellar 7-8 (.875) clip at the plate, and the four hits tied for a career-high. Robinson wound up with a whopping five runs batted in on just two credited at-bats, going 2-2 with three runs scored, a sacrifice fly, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.

The Owls have a day off before heading to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Capital University Comets (4-9) on Wednesday, March 29. The first pitch of the one-game outing is set for 4 p.m. at Capital’s Clowson Field.

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