College baseball: Pios take 2
The Marietta College Pioneers have played most of their games this spring in less than desirable weather conditions with the temperatures staying well below normal.
Wednesday, the Etta Express finally got a break in the weather as temperatures rose into the low 80s and responded in a big way as they swept a doubleheader from the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies 7-1 and 21-0 at Don Schaly Stadium.
The Pioneers pounded out 28 basehits in the doubleheader, half of them going for extra bases, and got outstanding pitching from starters’ Jason Byers and Mike Mulvey to claim there sixth and seventh Ohio Athletic Conference victories of the season.
“We didn’t put a lot of runs on the board in the first game but we hit a lot of balls well,” said Pioneer head coach Brian Brewer. “In the second game, we just knocked the ball all over the yard, which is good to see.”
Byers started the opener for Marietta College and the Pioneer left-hander quieted the Muskies on just three hits and one run in going the distance in the seven inning contest.
Marietta got the scoring started with a pair of runs in the second inning.
Tim McCoy got things going by drawing a walk from Muskingum starting pitcher Colten Maxwell and promptly stole second.
Third baseman Bryan Gregorich also walked and was forced out at second on a groundball to second base by Christian Demko as McCoy advanced to third.
Demko and McCoy then pulled off a double steal with help of a throwing error by the Muskies, and Jordan Grilliot plated the second run of the inning with an RBI single.
The Pioneers tacked on a pair of runs in the last of the third on RBI hits by catcher Alex Toth and designated hitter Josh Ungerbuehler.
The Etta Express gave Byers even more breathing room with a three-run fifth inning with the big hit being an RBI triple from Toth.
Byers retired Muskingum in order in three of his seven innings in the opener including the final frame to notch his third victory of the season in four decisions.
The Pios wasted little time taking control of the night cap as they scored 10 times in the first three innings off of Muskingum starting pitcher and Zanesville native Austin Miller.
Ungerbuehler’s two-run triple keyed the a four-run first inning before the Pioneers played long ball in the second.
Grilliot led off the second with his first home run of the season to right field and two-outs later Toth drilled a shot over the left field fence for his first round tripper of the season to make it 6-0.
Marietta made it a 10-0 game in the fourth when Grilliot was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and center fielder Aaron Hopper cleared the bases with a three-run triple to straight away center field.
Grilliot was at it again in the last of the fifth when the Pioneer left fielder drove his second home run of the game over the right center field fence to make it 11-0.
“Coach Brewer is always preaching to us to become more aggressive when we get a lead,” said Grilliot, who collected five hits and drove in four runs in the twin bill.
“I was looking for something early in the count to drive and fortunately the pitches were right in the zone I was looking for.”
Yet another RBI single by Toth made it a 12-run lead and Gregorich blew things wide open with a three-run triple to increase the lead to 15-0.
While the offense was clicking on all cylinders, Mulvey was breezing through the Muskie lineup, allowing just four hits over seven strong innings of work.
Brewer was quite pleased with the effort on the mound by both Byers and Mulvey.
“That’s what we expect our one and two pitchers to do. They fulfilled their responsibility,” said Brewer, the 2012 NCAA Division III coach of the year. “It’s all about throwing strikes. If we throw strikes we are going to catch the ball and hopefully score enough runs to win.”
Mulvey improved to 5-2 with the win with relief from Jordan Carithers and Anthony Knittel, while Miller fell to 0-4 with the loss.
The Pioneers improved to 17-6 on the season and 7-1 in the OAC, while the Muskies slipped to 4-17 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
12 different Pioneer hitters collected at least one hit in game two…Grilliot’s two-homer game was the second of his Pioneer career as he also connected twice on April 25th of last year at Wooster…The Pioneers came into the Wednesday’s action with a grand total of three home runs and six triples as a team and then collected three homers and seven triples in the double header…The four triples hit by Marietta College in game two was one short of the team record of five….
Miller no-hit the Marietta Tigers on May 3 of last year at Don Schaly Stadium as a member of the Zanesville Blue Devils…The Pioneers travel to Heidelberg Saturday for yet another OAC twinbill.