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Big Red edged by #21 Johns Hopkins

Noah Hahn  |  Photo by Mindi Flax
Noah Hahn | Photo by Mindi Flax

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A four-run fourth by the Blue Jays was too much for the Big Red to handle as Denison baseball suffered a 7-6 loss to No. 21 Johns Hopkins University on Thursday morning in Fort Myers, Fla.

Totaling a combined 22 hits between the two squads, the game looked to be siding with the Big Red in the top of the third with the bases loaded and nobody out. Senior Tanner Johnson took advantage of the situation and laced a double to left center, plating Noah Hahn and Jack Blanchard from second and third, respectively.

Two batters later, DU continued to hit off Johns Hopkins starter Preston Betz when Grady Paine turned it into a 4-1 game with an RBI single out to left, scoring Will Krushena from third base.

Denison starter Danny Brackman had allowed one run through the first two innings of play, but the Blue Jays began to chip away at their deficit with two runs in the home half of the third to end Brackman's day with two and two-thirds innings in the books.

Johns Hopkins added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Eberle and Tim Kutcher tallied a pair of RBI singles and Chris Festa added two runs batted in on a double to center. The Blue Jays carried a 7-4 lead entering the fifth.

In the top of the fifth, Denison looked to be on the doorstep of a comeback when Vince Walker hit a sacrifice fly out to center, scoring Johnson from third. Two batters later, sophomore Brian McAuliffe's double to right brought Sam Frazen across the dish and cut the DU deficit to one run, 7-6.

From the sixth inning on, Denison's John Troll and JHU's Jack Bunting settled into their relief work, allowing three hits combined over the final four innings of play. A single by Johnson gave the Big Red hope in the bottom of the ninth, but a fly out to right from Frazen ended the game and moved Denison to 7-5 on the season. Johns Hopkins improved to 10-6 overall.

Krushena continued his impressive spring with a 3-for-5 performance on the day with an RBI and a run scored. Hahn finished the game with two runs scored on 2-for-4 at the plate, while Johnson's 2-for-4 day was complimented by two RBI's and one run scored.

The Big Red will wrap up their time in Florida on Friday, March 23 when they play a doubleheader starting with St. Lawrence University at 9 a.m., followed by a 12 p.m. first pitch with Plymouth State.