Four-run sixth helps DU top SUNY Canton

Tanner Johnson | Photo by Jason Miller
Tanner Johnson | Photo by Jason Miller

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Denison erased a two-run deficit with a four-run sixth that led to the Big Red's 7-5 victory over SUNY Canton on Tuesday afternoon at North Charlotte Regional Park.

Down 4-2, senior Eric Zmuda was struck by a pitch to open the home half of the sixth inning. Junior Tanner Johnson followed with a double down the left line that put the game-tying runs in scoring positions with no outs. After inducing a pop out to third, Kangaroo starter Matt Hall was lifted for reliever Tom Brusca. Brusca started his day by issuing a walk to Tucker Davison that loaded the bases with one down. He rebounded by striking out Ethan Carlyon for the second out. DU shrunk the deficit to one on a misplayed ball by the Canton third baseman. Three more runs came across to score on an errant play in center.

Davison singled in Zmuda with a base hit to right-center in the seventh to build a 7-4 advantage. In the top of the eighth, Edward Malinoski Jr. drove in Brandon Welch with a base hit through the left side. Pinch hitter Nicolas Demarais followed Malinoski's single with another single through the left side. Looking to close the gap to one, the Roos' third-base coach sent Travis Schindler home from second base. However, replacement left fielder Nick Pettigrew gunned down Schindler at the plate for the second out of the inning.

Following the play at the plate, Denison Head Coach Mike Deegan replaced Mikey Rivera with senior Connor Hanrahan. Hanrahan quickly generated a ground out to the new third baseman Brian McAuliffe for the final out of the eighth. The senior southpaw nailed down his first save of the season by retiring the side in order in the ninth, which included a game-ending strikeout of Ben Miller.

Johnson, Davison and Carlyon all recorded two hits on the day with both of Johnson's being doubles. Johnson and Zmuda also scored two runs apiece, while Evan Flax registered a pair of RBIs with his second-career double in the fourth. Rivera improved to 1-0 on the year after surrendering one run on six hits in 2.2 innings out of the pen, while Hanrahan tossed 1.1 hitless innings with a strikeout. Starter John Troll tossed the first five frames, allowing four runs on seven hits with four Ks.

Five different Kangaroo hitters logged two hits. Seth Douglas drove in a pair with a triple while also scoring two times. Brusca took the loss after giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 1.2 innings out of the bullpen.

The Big Red improves to 5-2 on the year while SUNY Canton falls to 0-3 in 2017. Denison will be back in action on Wednesday when they take on Mount St. Mary. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.