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No.18 BW Baseball Team Sweeps Mount Union in Alliance

Mark Zimmerman
Mark Zimmerman
ALLIANCE, Ohio  -- The 18th-ranked (April 12 Division III national poll) Baldwin Wallace University baseball team swept Ohio Athletic Conference rival the University of Mount Union in an OAC doubleheader at the 23rd Street Field.  The Yellow Jackets (21-7, 8-6 OAC) won the first game, 7-6, and captured the nightcap, 12-10.

In the first game, Mt. Union (17-12, 6-8 OAC) gained a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. BW scored twice in the top of the fourth and once in the fifth to build a 3-1 lead before the Purple Raiders tied it 3-3 in the bottom of fifth with a pair of runs. BW regained the lead in the sixth with a run but Mt. Union scored three in the seventh to lead 6-4. The Yellow Jackets tied it in the eighth with two runs and scored the game-winner in the ninth when senior All-American first baseman Kyle Chontos (Pickerington/ North) doubled, moved to third on a flyout and scored on a single by junior All-OAC designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/ Green).

At the plate, freshman catcher Trent Kaltenbach (Plain City/ Kettering Alter) had his finest game as a collegian was 4-for-4 with a run scored, a double and a run batted-in (RBI). Handel was 3-for-5 with a run scored, double and RBI, Chontos was 2-for-5 with a run scored, two doubles and an RBI, and junior 2-time All-OAC infielder/ pitcher Mark Zimmerman (Akron/ Green) was 2-for-5.  Chontos two doubles increased his BW career record in that catagory to 52.

On the mound, Zimmerman started and pitched the first six and two-third innings and received a no-decision. He allowed eight Mt. Union base hits and six runs (all earned), struck out five and walked two. Junior Alex Albright (North Royalron) pitched one and one-third innings of one-hit relief to earn the victory to improve to 4-0 this season. Junior "stopper" Brandon Cichocki (Waled Lake, Mich./ Central) pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning, allowed one hit and earned his fourth save this season and his school career-record 14th overall.

In the second game, BW pounded out 20 hits. The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 6-0 lead with five runs in the top of the first and one more in the third. Mt. Union closed the gap to 6-5 with a five-run outburst in the bottom of the third. BW responded with four runs in the top of the fifth to make it 10-5 and the Raiders scored once in the bottom of the fifth and two in the seventh to make it 10-8. BW scored once in the eighth to make it 11-8. BW scored its final run in the ninth to take a 12-8 lead. Mt. Union scored its final two runs in the ninth and the game ended with the Purple Raiders trying to get the tying run into scoring positiuon, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.

At the plate, Zimmerman continued on his hitting tear and had a career-high five base hits. He was 5-for-6 with a run scored, double two stolen bases and an RBI. In addition, senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC outfielder Zach Ferster (Olmsted Falls) was 4-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, a stolen base and three RBI's. Chontos 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a stolen base, his 53rd career two-bagger and an RBI. Also, Kaltenbach, sophomore second baseman Cole Nieto (Brunswick/ Cleveland St. Ignatius) and senior All-OAC shortstop Eric Murphy (Brook Park/ Midpark) each had a pair of base hits

On the mound, sophomore right-hander Logan Heffernan (Lebanon) started and received a no-decision. He was relieved in the third inning by junior Connor Murphy (Westford, Mass/ Northeast). He pitched three and two-third innings, allowed six hits and three runs (all earned) and struck out one. He earned the victory to improve to 2-0 this season. Senior two-time All-OAC and Academic All-OAC pitcher Cory Waite (Willoughby/ South) relieved Murphy in the bottom of the seventh and pitched one and one-third innings. He was followed by Cichocki with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth. He proceeded to get the next three batters out and claim his secondsave of the day, fifth this season and a school-record 15th in his career.

The Yellow Jackets are back in action on Tuesday, April 21, when BW hosts a non-league doubleheader against LaRoche (Pa.) College at Heritage Field in Berea at 1 p.m. After a Wednesday, April 22 game at Denison University at 7 p.m., BW returns home to play an OAC twinbill versus Muskingum University next Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m.