North pounded out 12 hits in picking up its first win of the season, a 7-2 nonconference victory at Wooster on Saturday.
Four different Rangers collected two hits each and North’s six pitchers combined to limit Wooster to just three hits.
“It’s definitely a good feeling,” said North first-year head coach Joe Iveljic of notching his first career victory.
Logan Metz started on the hill for the Rangers. He allowed one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Nick Licursi then pitched a 1-2-3 inning and Matt Barner allowed one run on one hit in an inning of work.
Devin Nix then entered the game with the score tied, 1-1, and benefitted from North’s three-run fifth inning to pick up the victory. He allowed one run without giving up a hit. Bo Vinson and Brody Spock each pitched one inning and held off the Generals down the stretch. Vinson allowed one hit and both pitchers struck out one batter.
“We have four games coming up this week, so we just wanted to keep people fresh,” Iveljic said of his strategy to use multiple pitchers. “It’s been a while since Logan has thrown so we wanted to get him a couple of innings today. He’ll pitch one of the two against Riverside, and likewise, with Barner, we wanted to get him an inning. He’ll pitch the other game against Riverside on Monday or Tuesday.”
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Owen Hopper drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Andrew Gunton’s double. With two outs, Hopper scored on an error.
A leadoff triple and a groundout allowed Wooster to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning but the Rangers responded with a three-run fifth.
Ethan Zele drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. He then stole third and scored on Sean Register’s one-out double. Barner, who drew a walk, scored on a dropped third strike to push North’s lead to 3-1, and Register scored on Gunton’s sacrifice fly.
“It felt really good to get a team win today,” Register said. “We lost against a really good (St. Edward) team and after that game, we all came together and talked about what we did wrong as a team and we also said we need to do better as a team and coach said we just got to play with more swagger and confidence. I think that helped a lot towards this win in the game today.”
Register drove a 2-2 pitch into center field to give the Rangers the lead for good.
“It felt really good to get that double and to get a run in and start it going for the inning,” he said. “While I was batting, I told myself to relax and wait for a good pitch, and then I hit a really good pitch. It felt good to get the team going and to get a team win.”
Wooster used a pair of walks and a wild pitch to cut North’s lead to 4-2 in the bottom half of the inning.
The Rangers added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh to seal their win.
Barner singled to start the rally and Hopper and Gunton hit back-to-back one-out singles. Barner scored on Gunton’s second hit of the day. Kevin Gough and Blane Schmidt both hit two-out RBI singles to close out the scoring.
Zele, Barner, Hopper, and Gunton all recorded two hits for the Rangers.
“It’s a positive,” Iveljic said of the offensive production. “It’s a small sample size but through our scrimmages and our first game, we’ve had runners on base but we weren’t able to get the timely hit. Today, we were able to stack some doubles and base hits on top of each other. It was really big to get the offense going.”
Iveljic was especially pleased with the clutch hitting he saw.
“There was a point in the game when Sean Register came up and got down a couple of strikes pretty early and he hit a double over the center fielder’s head to push a run across and extend the inning,” he said. “Andrew Gunton, another sophomore, hit the ball really well with two hits and a double. He seemed to be on base all the time. From top to bottom, we put together really good at-bats and positioned ourselves to get some runs.”
North hosts Riverside on Monday then travels to play the Beavers at their place on Tuesday.