PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Thanks to seven runs in the third and three long balls on the day, Denison baseball powered their way past fourth-ranked North Central College, 20-4, on Monday afternoon in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Recording 23 hits on the day, the Denison offense took control with eight runs in the first three innings and gave senior starter Perley Provost an early lead to work with. In six innings on the hill, the right-hander kept the slate clean with no runs on eight hits and four strikeouts, earning his second win of the season.
After an RBI single from Brian McAuliffe gave the Big Red a 1-0 lead in the second, the Denison bats came to life in the third with runners on first and second with one out. Back-to-back doubles from Will Krushena and Tanner Johnson plated three more runs for DU and added another when Johnson scored on a wild pitch.
The inning continued when a home run to left from senior Jack Blanchard put the Big Red up 6-0, and following a Sam Frazen single and a strikeout from McAuliffe, sophomore Vince Walker pounded the team's second home run of the day to take an 8-0 advantage and chase North Central starter Blake Kons heading into the fourth.
Now facing the Cardinals' junior relief pitcher Colton West in the top of the fourth, the Big Red offense didn't take any time off. With two runners on and one out, Johnson laced his second double of the game, bringing Nick Pettigrew home from second and sending Grady Paine to third.
Following a pop out to first from Blanchard, Frazen cleared the bases with a three-run home run over the left field wall, sending the Denison lead to double-digits, 12-0, with four innings in the books.
Over the next three innings of play, Provost stayed locked in for the Big Red as he tallied three strikeouts from the fourth through sixth innings and added another three outs on the ground.
The Cardinals tried to chip away at Denison's 17-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth, posting four runs in the inning, but a two-RBI single from freshman Max Lahn helped the Big Red add three more runs in the ninth inning as they secured their largest victory of the season, and their most runs scored since a 22-10 win at Ohio Wesleyan on April 30, 2017.
Krushena and Blanchard paced the DU offense as they both went 3-for-5 on the day, while Johnson went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI's. Frazen also totaled an impressive day at the plate with three RBI's on three hits and two runs scored.
The Big Red will now travel to Ft. Myers, Fla. as they prepared for a matchup with Plymouth State University on Wednesday, March 21 at the Gene Cusic Classic. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.