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Baseball Sweeps Mt. Union to Earn OAC Tourney Spot and Stretch Win Streak to Eight Straight

Mark Zimmerman pitching
Mark Zimmerman pitching

BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University baseball team swept an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader today against rival the University of Mount Union at Fisher Field. The Yellow Jackets won the first game, 8-0, and the captured the nightcap, 9-2.

With its sweep, BW (20-17, 12-4 OAC) has won eight straight games, including three straight OAC twinbill sweeps, captured and 12 of its 14 contests. The first game shutout of the Purple Raiders guaranteed the Yellow Jackets a spot in this year's four-team OAC Tournament. Mt. Union (18-20, 8-10 OAC) has concluded its season and is eliminated from the OAC Tournament chase. The Jackets end the 2016 OAC regular season on Sunday, May 8 when they travel to New Concord to play a twinbill at Muskingum University. The first game starts at 1 p.m.

In the two games, BW outhit Mt. Union, 21-12, and did not allow an earned run in 18 innings of action. In its last 14 games, including 12 victories, BW has outscored its opposition, 151-38, including eight games with 10 or more runs.

In the opener, BW scored once in each of the bottom of the second and third innings to build a 2-0 lead and blew the game open with a six-run seventh.

On the mound, senior three-time All-OAC right-handed pitcher/ shortstop Mark Zimmerman (Akron/ Green) tossed a five-hit shutout, struck out seven and did not walk a batter to improve to 7-3 overall. He also stretched his streak to 25 innings without giving up an earned run or a base-on-balls (walk). He has not allowed an earned run or walked a batter since the third inning versus Marietta College on April 10. He has whiffed 24 batters in the last 25 innings. In addition, he lowered his earned run average to 2.66 overall.

At the plate, the Yellow Jackets outhit the Purple Raiders, 9-5. Zimmerman led BW by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two doubles, one run batted-in (RBI) and a stolen base. Senior two-time Academic All-OAC center fielder John Taylor (Stow/ Hudson) was 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double and two RBI. Freshman RF Reese Albright (North Royalton) was 2-for-4 with a run scored, RBI and stolen base. Senior two-time All-OAC first baseman/ designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/ Green) was 1-for-3 with a run scored, two RBI and two stolen bases.

In the nightcap, BW scored four runs in the bottom of the second and two each in the third and fourth innings to build an 8-0 advantage. After Mt. Union scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth, BW scored for the final time in the bottom of the frame.

On the mound, sophomore All-OAC left-hander Evan Lovick (Mentor) pitched the first six innings to improve to 3-1 this season. He allowed six hits and two unearned runs, struck out one and walked four. Lovick lowered his ERA to an OAC-leading and microscopic 0.57 overall. He was relieved by senior righty Tom Loeffler (Shaker Heights) who pitched a scoreless seventh and Matt Wittels (Lyndhurst/Brush) who pitched the eighth striking out one. Senior righty Brandon Cichocki (Walled Lake, Mich./ Central) tossed a scoreless ninth and allowed a base hit..

At the plate, BW outhit Mt. Union, 12-7. Leading the way were four players with two hits each. Sophomore 3B Spencer Badia (Bellaire) was 2-for-2 with two runs scored, his third home run of the season and an RBI. Junior All-OAC RF/2B Cole Nieto (Brunswick/ Cleveland St. Ignatius) was 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double and two RBI. Handel was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Junior LF Alex Marcum (Granville) was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

In addition, junior 2B Steve Montgomery (Canton/ Central Catholic) was 1-for-3 with a run scored, double and team-high three RBI, sophomore catcher Trent Kaltenbach (Plain City/ Jonathan Alder) was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

The 2016 OAC Tournament starts on Thursday, May 12 at the site of the regular season champion. Marietta College (13-3 OAC) enters its doubleheader tomorrow, Saturday, May 7, at Ohio Northern University (7-9 OAC) at the top of the standings by one game. Otterbein University (12-4 OAC) is tied with BW for second place and ends its regular season tomorrow by hosting Muskingum University (6-8 OAC) in a twinbill in Westerville. The Cardinals have a tie-breaker over BW because OU swept BW earlier this year. BW and Otterbein both split with the Pioneers. Fourth place John Carroll University (9-7 OAC) hosts Capital University (7-9 OAC).