CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Junior Jake Fling became the fifth player in The College of Wooster baseball program's history to record a six-hit game as the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament MVP hit two home runs during a seven-RBI day to help lead the ninth-ranked Fighting Scots to their league-leading 17th NCAC championship with a 25-6 win over DePauw University on Saturday afternoon at VA Memorial Stadium.
Wooster (35-8) earns the conference's automatic berth to the 2017 NCAA Div. III Baseball Championships, and the Scots will be making their 29th appearance all-time. The field will be released by the NCAA on Monday morning.
|Wooster's seven-member senior class was a part of two NCAC Championships during their careers at the College. Photos courtesy of Russell Kramer, NCAC.|
Fling clubbed a three-run home run out to right field in the second inning, and that made it a 4-0 game, and Wooster really caught fire from there. In the seventh, the center fielder did likewise going opposite field to cap a six-running inning in a frame the first eight men to the plate recorded a hit. Fling's line included a trio of singles and a double, and his six-hit game is the first in program history since alumnus Frank Vance had six against Wabash College on May 2, 2015.
Wooster really broke the game open in the third inning as sophomores Jacob Stuursma and Chandler Dippman, first-year Nick Strausbaugh, and Fling had four straight RBI singles to make it an 8-0 contest.
DePauw (31-11) found some momentum in the fifth inning when senior Ryan Grippo drilled a two-run round-tripper out to left field, and classmate Mike Hammel did likewise with a solo shot two batters later to make it 11-3, but that answered a three-run home run by Stuursma in the bottom of the fourth. Then, Wooster countered DePauw's three-run inning with three more runs of its own in the fifth, two of which came in on a two-run double by senior Jamie Lackner.
In the sixth, Wooster scored three more runs, as Wielansky and Lackner had RBI base knocks.
Senior Tyler Schuch improved to 6-0 on the season with the win. He worked five innings while allowing three runs on eight hits.
Wooster, who recorded 30 hits on the afternoon, came one shy of matching the single-game program record in that stat, and the Scots last had 30 hits in a game against the University of Mount Union in 2009.
Stuursma and Wielansky both recorded four hits for Wooster in the game with Stuursma driving in six runs. Lackner knocked in three on the day, and that moved him past former Wooster great Shane Flinner for second on the program's all-time RBI list at 193.
In fact, the trio all earned spots on the all-tournament team as Stuursma went 10-for-12 with nine runs scored and nine RBI in the three games. Meanwhile, Wielansky hit .500 (8-for-16) and he scored five runs and Lackner went 7-for-14 with nine RBI and five runs scored.
Fling went 9-for-16 over the three games for his MVP honors, with his Thursday home run really setting the stage for Wooster's explosive offense that scored 53 runs in three games in Chillicothe.
Junior Nanak Saran, Friday's starter, earned Wooster's fifth spot on the all-tournament team.
Grippo and Hammel, both fellow all-tournament team honorees finished with three hits each on the day for the Tigers.