MARIETTA, Ohio -- The Baldwin Wallace University baseball defeated top-seeded and host Marietta College, 6-1, in the loser's bracket final of the 2014 Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament game today at Pioneer Park and Don Schaly Stadium. With its win, BW, ranked fourth in the Mideast Region of Division III, is 24-17 overall and plays winner's bracket champ and cross-town rival John Carroll University (23-14 overall) tomorrow for the OAC title and must beat the Blue Streaks twice to win the crown.
Marietta, ranked first in the Mideast Region, ends the OAC Tournament at 29-14 overall and must await Monday's NCAA Division III National Tournament Selection Committee's national tourney announcement. Earlier today, BW beat and eliminated Heidelberg University, ranked second in the Mideast Region, 13-11.
Marietta jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a double, stolen base and throwing error. BW came right back to tie the game at 1-1 with a walk, two base hits and an RBI (run batted-in) fielder's choice off the bats of junior All-OAC right fielder Alex Green (Pickerington/North) and took a 2-1 lead one batter later when senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC third baseman Brad Gugliotta (Twinsburg) singled in the hole between shortstop and third base.
BW took a 4-1 lead in the top of the fourth when Green hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot, that followed an inning-opening double off the top of the left field fence by junior shortstop Eric Murphy (Brook Park/Middleburg Heights Midpark).
The lead grew to 5-1 with a run in the top of the fifth when sophomore All-OAC second baseman Mark Zimmerman (Akron/Green) reached on an infield single, advanced to second on a ground out and scored when high school and college teammate, sophomore designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/Green) singled up the middle.
BW increased its lead to 6-1 in the top of the eighth when sophomore center fielder John Taylor (Stow/Hudson) drove in Handel who opened the inning with a single and advanced to third on a Murphy double.
At the plate, BW was led by Handel, Taylor and Murphy. Handel was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Taylor was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Murphy was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two doubles.
On the mound, freshman Logan Heffernan (Lebanon) pitched the first eight innings, allowed six hits, one run (earned), struck out five Pioneer batters and issued two bases on balls (walks). He improved to 3-3 overall. Sophomore "stopper" Brandon Cichocki (Walled Lake, Mich./Central) pitched the ninth inning and put the Pioneers down 1-2-3 with two whiffs.
The winner of the OAC Tournament receives the league's automatic berth in this year's NCAA Division III National Tournament which starts next week. To date, BW has the credentials to receive a berth. Against ranked teams in the Mideast, BW is 2-2 versus No. 1 Marietta, 2-1 versus No. 2 Heidelberg, 1-1 versus No. 3 Case Western Reserve University, BW is No. 4, 1-0 versus No. 5 The College of Wooster, 2-0 versus No. 6 LaRoche (Pa.) College and 1-1 versus No. 9 Ohio Northern University.
FOR MORE BW SPORTS INFORMATION, please contact Sports Information Director Kevin Ruple by telephone at 440-826-2327 and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant SID Jeff Miller by phone at 440-826-2780 and email at email@example.com. Fans can access the latest BW athletics information at www.bwyellowjackets.com and we invite you to join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bwyellowjackets and Twitter at http://twitter.com/bwathletics.