BASEBALL: Toppers sweep against Dayton

Amber North

In the early season, the Hilltoppers have had problems with playing to their full ability. On top of that, not enough players have been stepping up.

Problem solved.

Despite having to play a doubleheader on Saturday because of Friday’s game being rained out, Western still came out strong to smash Dayton out of Nick Denes Field with its first sweep of the season winning 4-3, 5-3 and 16-6.

The Hilltoppers (7-7) had a slew of unfamiliar faces along with the usual stellar performers coming up big in the three-game series.

“Many individuals contributed, which was what we haven’t had in the previous series (of this season),” coach Joel Murrie said.

Up 2-1 in game two of the doubleheader, freshman catcher Jordan Newton hit his first collegiate home run to make it 3-1.

“I feel really good, excited to get my first home run,” Newton said. “I’m finally adjusting.”

Newton continued to hit well in the series, going 3-5 with three RBIs and two runs in Sunday’s game.

Dayton (3-6) had an early 2-0 lead in the game. Three scoreless innings later, the Toppers had a slug-filled fourth by scoring nine runs on nine hits.

Junior first baseman Marcus Ross was the first to put the team on the board when he hit a three-run homer.

After Newton’s two-RBI single, senior second baseman Matt Johnston, who went 4-5 of the game, hit his third home run of the season when he drove in three more runs.

Ross batted the fourth of his five RBI to make it 9-2.

“The way we hit (last) weekend resembles our feelings on what we feel like this ball club is capable of doing offensively,” Murrie said.

The game was already sealed, but sophomore third baseman Tim Grogan wanted to put the stamp on it.

With the bases loaded, Grogan hit a grand slam to help Western match its season-high 16 hits.

Western travels to Nashville today to face Belmont, then will return to Denes Field at 3 p.m. Wednesday to take on Kentucky.

Reach Amber North at [email protected]