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Owls topple Tomcats in season-opening win

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The Kenyon College baseball team could not have asked for a much better start to the 2023 season after securing a 10-3 win over Thiel College (0-1). The victory is the first season-opener that Kenyon has won since 2015, and the dominant performance starts a 12-game slate of spring break games in Fort Pierce, Florida, for the 1-0 Owls.

Kenyon got on the board quickly and never looked back. The Owls tacked on a two-run lead in the first inning, but they got some help from Thiel. Nate Rosen and Drew Robinson led off the game with a double and a single, respectively, and two errors on the next play brought the Owls home. 

Theo Canning struck out the first two Thiel batters he faced, but the Tomcats cut into the lead with a run on two hits in the second inning. Kenyon’s defense and another Tomcats miscue helped the Owls get out of the frame after a routine flyout turned into a double-play after some bad baserunning.

Both teams settled things down to produce three scoreless innings, but Kenyon got back on track with another two-spot in the sixth inning. Another unearned run made it 3-1 after an RBI single from Edwin Groff, and he came around to score after an RBI single from Stephen Carr.

Canning left the game after five innings with a 4-1 lead, having thrown four strikeouts and allowing four hits, and Thiel took advantage of the pitching change. Christian Harris allowed two walks before Sam Richards came on, and a single and a double helped the Tomcats pull within one at 4-3. However, Richards worked out of the one-out jam, stranding two runners in scoring position to maintain Kenyon’s margin.

The Owls’ offense opened things up in the next half inning after two walks sandwiched a hit-by-pitch to load the bases before the first out. Malcolm Gaynor scored on a wild pitch before Groff added two RBIs with another single. Another hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice bunt from Carr helped Robbie Coates make it an 8-3 game through seven with an RBI single.

After Richards struck out the side, Gaynor hit a leadoff double that set the table for the Owls in the eighth. The Tomcats helped out again after an error allowed Niko Price to reach third and Gaynor to come home, and Tripper Capps brought the second unearned run of the inning, Kenyon’s fifth unearned run of the game, home with a sacrifice fly. Richards and Liam Rosengren closed things out with two strikeouts apiece, clinching the 10-3 season-opening win.

Groff led the team with three RBIs while going 2-4 with a walk, while Rosen paced the Owls with three hits and two walks to post a whopping .833 on-base percentage. On the mound, Canning earned the win to start the year at 1-0. Richards led the team with five strikeouts in three innings, allowing three hits with no runs and no walks.

Up next, Kenyon takes on Elizabethtown College (2-2) in a doubleheader at 1:00 and 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 6.

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