College baseball: Pioneers sweep Cap

The Marietta College used a combination of quality starting pitching, solid offense, and outstanding defense to sweep an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader from the Capital University 11-0 and 6-2 Saturday at Don Schaly Stadium.

Marietta native Evan Brockmeier fired a seven-inning complete game shutout and the Pioneers racked up 16 hits in the opener, while freshman left-hander Mike Finlan tossed a seven-hit, nine-inning complete game in the nightcap.

The No. 3-ranked Pioneers were flawless on defense all day long as they made no errors in the twinbill while also getting defensive gems from third baseman Bryan Gregorich and left-fielder Jordan Grilliot.

“Bryan (Gregorich) is pretty darn good at third and Jordan (Grilliot) is kind of finding a home there in left field and they made a couple of great plays today,” said Pioneer head coach Brian Brewer. “We made the routine plays and that is our defensive philosophy. If we do that we are going to give ourselves a chance.”

While the defense was on the mark from the get go, the Etta Express offense took a few innings to get going before jumping on Capital first game starter Justin Hoying for six runs in the third inning.

A two-run single by shortstop Christian Demko and RBI singles by Tyler Packanik and Josh Ungerbuehler were the key hits in the pivotal third frame.

Those six runs would prove to be more than enough for Brockmeier who allowed just five hits and fanned five Capital hitters to pick up his third victory of the season in four decisions.

“I was able to throw strikes to get ahead of their hitters today,” said Brockmeier who played first base in the second game. “In both games we were able to get into a rhythm and our defense made the plays behind us.”

Freshman Tim McCoy’s two-run triple capped a five-run Pioneer sixth inning and gave Brockmeier even more breathing room heading to the final frame.

The second game began much like the first as neither team dented the plate in the first two innings.

Capital scored what would prove to be its only two runs of the doubleheader in the third inning as it took advantage of some temporary wildness by Finlan.

Catcher Kirby Boehm got the inning started with a single and was forced out at second on a ground out by Jacob Thurman.

Nate Campbell drew a base-on-balls and right-fielder Patrick Jackson followed with a run scoring single up the middle to make it 1-0.

After Taylor Bransiel walked to load the bases, Matt Carnahan’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0.

First baseman Brandon Natale was hit by a Finlan pitch to reload the bases but the Pioneer freshman south paw came through with his biggest pitch of the game when he struck out shortstop Brian Wyer to leave the bases loaded with the Pioneers trailing by just two runs.

“I was off a liitle bit on location in the third inning and missing some of my spots,” said Finlan, the State College Pennsylvania native. “After that strikeout I was able to get into a pretty good groove.”

Finlan settled down and allowed just four Capital basehits the rest of the way, allowing the Pioneer offense the opportunity to take the lead.

MC got one of those runs back in their half of the third when Pacanik scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a walk and advancing to third on an errant pick-off attempt by Capital starting pitcher Garret Griffin.

The Pioneers tied it up in the fourth when Ungerbuehler drove a line drive over the 370 sign in left center field for his first home run of the season, and took the lead on doubles by Demko and Grilliot.

Marietta College increased its lead to 5-2 in the sixth with out the benefit of a single hit as it drew five walks off of three different Crusader pitchers.

Grilliot’s second double of the game in the last of the sixth added one more insurance run as the Pioneers went on to claim their sixth victory in their last seven games.

Finlan’s win was his first as a Pioneer, while Griffin slipped to 1-1 with the loss.

The Pioneers improved to 15-5 overall and 5-1 in OAC play, while the Crusaders slipped to 12-9 and 2-4 in conference action.

PIONEER NOTES: Capital turned a rare triple play in the fifth inning of the opener as with Pioneer base runners on first and second base, Demko hit a hard ground ball right at third baseman Ryan Pearson. Pearson stepped on the bag, fired a seed to second baseman Anthony Calabrese, whose throw to first baseman Natale was just in time to beat Demko for the 5-4-3 triple play…Packanik’s line score in game two was a rare 0-0 with three runs scored as the freshman second baseman walked in all four plate appearances…Ungerbuehler’s round tripper was just the second Pioneer long ball of the season…The Etta Express hit the road Sunday and lost to Washington& Jefferson (Pa.) before returning home Wednesday for an OAC game against Muskingum at 4 p.m.