Baseball Loses to No. Three Wooster
by Colin Smith

The numbers do not accurately reflect the performance of the Yeoman baseball team in Tuesday’s doubleheader against the College of Wooster, the nation’s number three Division III baseball team.
Wooster’s Fighting Scots defeated the Yeomen 8-1 and 5-0, but the two games were closer than those scores would indicate. Six of Wooster’s 13 runs in the two contests came in the sixth and seventh innings, as the Yeomen remained within striking distance until the very end of each game.
Wooster came into the series averaging a gaudy 11 runs per game while posting a 2.93 ERA — more than a run and a half better than the next best team in the NCAC East — but encountered an Oberlin team that refused to just roll over and die.
“We came out and played two very good baseball games versus the number three team in the nation,” Head Coach Eric Lahetta said. “If we play like that every day, we are going to be very successful.”
Despite the 8-1 score in the early game, Wooster only out-hit Oberlin 13-9, as the Yeomen kept pressure on the Scots for most of the game. What hurt the Yeomen in the end was a failure to come through in the clutch. Oberlin left eight men on base, six of them in scoring position.
“A couple of timely hits could’ve made the difference,” first-year Steve Willever said of the games.

Sophomore Troy DeWitt drove in the Yeomen’s lone run in the third inning of the first game, singling home first-year Andrew Caprariello, who had doubled.
DeWitt was a workhorse on the mound as well, pitching all seven innings. He first got into trouble in the second, surrendering three runs on four hits, but still had his team in the game in the fifth with the score 4-1. Wooster plated a pair in both the sixth and the seventh, though, to put the game on ice.
“I don’t think [Troy] necessarily had his best stuff,” Willever said.
With the loss, DeWitt’s record dropped to 2-3. Seven of the eight runs he allowed were earned, raising his ERA to 4.62. He walked only one, while striking out three. Through 37 innings so far this season, DeWitt is averaging a strikeout an inning.
Junior Zach Pretzer, sophomore Ian Haynes, and Caprariello each had two hits off of Wooster’s Matt Englander, against whom batters had been hitting only .190.

“It gives us confidence to know we can play with them,” Caprariello said. “We just need to take it to the next step.”
The second game was even tighter than the first, thanks to the impressive performance of first-year starting pitcher Ryan Drews. Drews gave the Yeomen every chance to win the game, but for the second straight start, he received no offensive support.
Drews got off to a rough start. After he gave up a leadoff single, two Wooster stolen bases and two Oberlin errors — one by Drews — turned into two runs in the first inning. But Drews settled into a rhythm after that, allowing Wooster just one hit over the next five innings while striking out three.

“With our pitching we matched up with them really well,” Willever said of Wooster.
It looked like the Yeomen might put together their own big inning in the bottom of the first, as Pretzer and sophomore John Damron opened the inning with back-to-back singles. But Caprariello struck out and DeWitt grounded into a double-play to end the threat. Oberlin’s third and final hit of the game didn’t come until the last inning.
Drews showed signs of tiring in the sixth as he went to 3-1 on the three batters he faced, but came back to retire them on two strikeouts and a groundout. The wear really showed in the seventh, though, as Wooster solved him for three runs on four hits, hitting the ball well off him for the first time in the game. The five run lead was more than enough for Wooster’s John Werner, who had the Yeomen’s number in pitching a complete game three-hitter.
“That was probably the best pitcher we’ve faced so far,” Caprariello said of Werner.
Drews finished with a complete game loss to drop his record to 0-2, but after controlling the potent Wooster offense in just his second start of the season, Drews’ ERA is 2.82 and he is emerging as one of the team’s best pitchers.

Lahetta gave Wooster, which is now 24-1 and has won at least 30 games each of the last two years, a tip of the cap. “With our young squad, we should want to design our program like Wooster’s.”

If Tuesday’s games against one of the top teams in the country were any indication, Oberlin looks to be headed in the right direction.

Notes: Oberlin lost Wednesday’s game at Case Western 13-4, dropping their record to 6-14 and extending their losing streak to seven, their longest of the season…Pretzer stole a base in game one against Wooster and now leads the NCAC with 17 steals…Oberlin next plays this weekend in a three game series at Allegheny College.

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