Trojans Fall to No. 19 UNOH in Offensive Slugfest
UPLAND, Ind. – The 2022 National Tournament Opening Round commenced on Monday afternoon, when the Upland Bracket two-seed and hosts, No. 22 Taylor (40-17), dropped an offensive slugfest to the three-seed, No. 19 Northwestern Ohio (38-12), by a final score of 12-8.
Five different Trojans recorded multiple hits, highlighted by Conner Crawford’s four-hit day, as Taylor and Northwestern Ohio each posted 14 team-hits. The four-run difference in the final score, however, came with a two-hit difference between the two teams when it came to at-bats with the bases loaded.
Seven-of-the-12 Racer runs were plated on two base knocks with the bases loaded, the first of which came in the bottom half of the first inning after Kaleb Kolpien put the Trojans on top with a two-run home run to center field in the top of the first.
After the Racers scratched four runs into the scorebook in their first at-bat of the game, Taylor responded with four runs of its own in the top of the third to snatch back the lead.
Crawford kick started the third-inning rally with a single through the left side of the infield, after which Camden Knepp reached base on a Racer error and catcher, Ben Kalbaugh, smacked a double off the wall in center field. Mason David, then, came on to run as a courtesy for Kalbaugh, prefacing a two-run single up the middle struck by left fielder, Jacob Morris.
First baseman, Kade Vander Molen, kept the party going in the third by ripping a single to right, which was followed by a Nick Rusche walk to load the bases. The Racer starting pitcher made his way to the dugout at this point in the game, escaping just in time for TJ Bass’s third at-bat of the game.
After going two-for-two in his prior two at-bats, Bass snagged his first RBI of the day on a sacrifice-fly to short right field, capitalized on by a hustling Morris who scored from third.
Heading into the bottom half of the third inning the Trojans were up 6-4, though the second significant bases-loaded base knock for the Racers would show up in short time.
Down 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth, Northwestern Ohio worked two-straight singles and a walk to crowd the infield with nobody out. The Racer leadoff man, then, stepped to the plate and served a seemingly lazy fly ball into the wind tunnel in right, shocking the TU faithful with a grand slam to nurture a 9-7 Taylor deficit.
With that grand slam in mind, Northwestern Ohio went on to score seven of the last eight runs of the game, even while Taylor pitcher, Noah Huseman, threw five solid innings in relief. The senior righty allowed just two earned runs and retired four Racers via the strikeout, keeping the Trojans in the game until the very end.
Nonetheless, Northwestern Ohio cruised to a 12-8 victory behind a remarkable relief performance of its own.
No. 22 Taylor (40-17) will be back in action tomorrow, May 17th, when they take on the Upland Bracket’s four-seed, Columbia (38-13), at 12:00 pm in a win-or-go-home matchup.