College baseball: No. 9 Pioneers sweep Quakers
The Marietta College baseball team picked up a pair of 14-3 victories over Wilmington Friday evening in a double header at Don Schaly Stadium.
The two victories closed out the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season schedule for the Pioneers (27-8, 15-3) who had already clinched the top seed in Thursday’s OAC Tournament.
The Etta Express’ offense appears to be hitting its stride at the right time.
“Some guys are coming on a little bit,” said MC head coach Brian Brewer. “Brock’s (Evan Brockmeier) playing well. Jordan (Grilliot), he’s seeing the ball really well right now. (Aaron) Hopper’s coming on a little bit. (Mitch) Geers is swinging it well for the last 10 days, couple weeks.”
In game one, the Pioneers pounded out 14 hits to go along with the 14 runs. Alex Toth was 3-5 with three runs batted in for the game while Grilliot, Brockmeier, Hopper and Christian Demko each had two base hits. Hopper matched Toth’s total of three RBI while Grilliot and Brockmeier drove in two apiece. Brockmeier, Demko, Bryan Gregorich and Zach Bukiewicz all scored three runs.
Jason Byers went the distance for MC in the first game, striking out five and walking three in seven innings. He surrendered three earned runs on six hits.
Byers picked up his sixth mound victory of the year, second only to Mike Mulvey’s seven.
The Pioneers chased Wilmington’s starter early. Billy Foster lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits and two walks. Hunter Justus pitched 1.1 innings of relief, giving up four runs while Tyler Schrock tossed two frames out of the ‘pen, surrendering five runs on seven hits.
Marietta scored at least two runs in each of the first five innings of the game, putting things out of reach early for the Quakers.
The nightcap was a slightly more competitive game.
The Pios got ahead quickly with a trio of runs in the bottom of the first. Grilliot led off the inning with a triple to left-center field and immediately scored when Geers grounded to short and reached on an error.
Hopper followed with a base on balls before Josh Ungerbuehler bunted both runners into scoring position. Tim McCoy then cashed in with a two-run single to center field to make it a 3-0 game.
The Quakers got one run back in the top of the second. Cameron Schwalbach doubled off the left field fence with one out and crossed the plate when an Alec Hulzelman ground ball glanced off the pitcher’s glove and into right field.
Marietta stretched its lead to four runs the next half-inning. Grilliot again got things started with a one-out double to left-center and then scored on Geers’ triple to deep center field. Hopper then drove Geers home with a sharp single up the middle to make the score 5-1.
Wilmington cut the deficit in half in the top of the third. Jake Vinkovich led off with a single, went to second and third on two wild pitches and then scored on Brandon Arehart’s grounder to short. After Arehart reached on an error, he eventually came around to score on a ground out, making it 5-3.
From there, it was all Pioneers as they scored three in the fifth and one in the sixth to make it 9-3. The Pios would get five more runs in the final two frames to complete the sweep.
“It’s been a little bit of a tough week with finals going on,” Brewer said. “Our practices have been get ’em in here and get ’em out of here type of thing. We identified some things we weren’t doing well and I think we’re correcting those things.”
Christian Herstine picked up his second victory of the season, going five innings for the Pios. Mike Fulton, Jordan Carithers and Anthony Knittel all pitched well in relief for Marietta in game two.
The Pioneers will be right back at Schaly Stadium tomorrow at noon to host Case Western Reserve in a non-conference double header.
Marietta then plays its final regular season game of the year Sunday on the road against La Roche College at 3 p.m.