Eliot Barrengos, Sports Editor
The Fighting Scots baseball team fell 4-2 in conference play last Saturday, April 8 after being swept by the Wittenberg Tigers in a doubleheader at Art Murray Field. The Tigers shut down Wooster over the course of two games, scoring 12 runs over 18 innings and yielding just six runs to Wooster’s potent offense. Wittenberg, along with next Saturday’s opponent Denison, poses the biggest conference threats to Wooster this spring. After breaking out their own brooms against the Oberlin Yeoman just one week earlier, the dual losses were not the outcome anybody on the first base side of the field was hoping for.
It wasn’t that any one thing fell apart for the Scots, but that Wittenberg simply shut Wooster down. The offense, which is normally the driving engine for Wooster, was held at bay by Wittenberg starters Nick Cunningham and Michael Osmond. Cunningham held the Scots hitless for five innings in the first affair before Eli Westrick ’24 knocked a two-out single into center field. From there, Wooster did their best to dig their way out of a five-run hole. In the seventh inning, star first baseman Dane Camphausen ’23 got the Scots on the board with a two-run dinger over the left field fence. The homer was Camphausen’s 30th in his college career, making him just the 15th player in program history to reach that mark. Wooster threatened in the ninth before Wittenberg turned back to its bullpen, when the Tigers promptly induced a rally-killer by getting Taylor Cann to ground into a double play, scoring one run but eliminating any of the Scots’ momentum.
In game two, Coach Craddock sent pitcher Ryan Sullivan ’23 to the bump. Sullivan and game one starter Corey Knauf ’24 have been a two-headed monster at the top of Wooster’s staff. The southpaw delivered a valiant effort, yielding four runs on nine hits over four innings. Sullivan responded when reached for comment saying “Wittenberg was a very disciplined hitting team, and it showed in their approach at the plate. My changeup and slider were both moving pretty well but would leak over the plate and Witt did a great job taking them the other way for singles.” Sullivan added that command played a big role in the outcome of runs he surrendered, “I definitely wasn’t commanding the zone as well as I could, and it allowed them to get high quality swings even when I was ahead in the count. It made for a pretty frustrating day on the mound.”
The Scots strung together early hits in game two, putting one run on the board in each of the first two innings thanks to singles from Camphausen and Westrick, but the Tigers would post three of their own in the bottom half of the third inning to take the lead. Wittenberg never looked back from there, tacking on four more to complete the 7-3 victory and the sweep.
Perhaps the biggest silver lining for the Scots was the work of their bullpen, specifically in game two, as the trio of Ethan Samangy ’23, Devin Anthony ’26 and Christian Johnston ’23 tossed goose eggs in innings six through eight. Reliever Cooper Baer ’26 worked the ninth, yielding just one run on two hits. When asked for comment, the first-year pitcher/catcher remarked on the bullpen’s performance saying “We’ve had a lot of guys step up recently and become more comfortable in their role out of the pen. Every pitcher is competing with each other for playing time and I believe it’s making the staff as a whole much stronger.”
Sullivan cited both a chip on their shoulder and a sense that rest would make a big difference to help rebound this weekend, “I think the biggest way that we can bounce back is just taking this week to get healthy… Having a full week without games to recover for Denison will be extremely beneficial.” Additionally, “There was going to be a chip on our shoulder regardless of the outcome last weekend. Denison has beaten us in three straight conference tournament championships. With the tough start we’ve had to the year topped by last weekend I think a lot of teams don’t see us as serious contenders for the conference title. I know we’ll be using the losses as motivation to go into Granville and play some quality baseball.”
Wooster’s bullpen will need to replicate their efforts against the Big Red, with both Knauf and Sullivan ready to take the ball, a strong showing in the back end, paired with a bounceback performance from the bats is the recipe that they will be banking on. Bear added a positive note in regard to the Scots’ performance saying “We’ve played a very strong schedule thus far, I think we’re better than our record shows.”
Wooster baseball has some big matchups on the road this weekend, with a doubleheader at Denison University on Saturday, April 15 and a game at La Roche University on Sunday, April 16. Good luck, Scots!