Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Baseball Team Beats Otterbein at OAC Tourney, Plays Marietta for Title

Tom Loeffler
Tom Loeffler

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The third-seeded Baldwin Wallace University baseball team came from behind to defeat Ohio Athletic Conference rival and top-seeded  and host Otterbein University, 7-6 in 11 innings, in the loser's bracket championship game on Fishbaugh Field. The Yellow Jackets (22-19) now advance to tomorrow's OAC Championship Game(s) versus No.2-seed Marietta College (27-15). The first game is at 12 noon and the "if necessary" game is at 3:30 p.m. The winner of the OAC Tournament receives an automatic berth in the 2016 NCAA Division III national tournament. The regional tournaments begin next weekend.

BW had its second straight come-from-behind win today in the loser's bracket. The Yellow Jackets (23-19) beat OAC and Cleveland cross-town rival John Carroll University, 6-5, in action earlier this afternoon. Otterbein, which lost to Marietta, 11-8, this morning to drop into the loser's bracket, ends the OAC Tournament at 32-11 and now must hope for an at-large berth in next week's NCAA Division III National Tournament.

The Cardinals gained an early, 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning via a three-run home run.

The Yellow Jackets came back with a four-run top of the third to take a 4-3 lead when junior second baseman Steve Montgomery (Canton/ Central Catholic) singled to lead of the inning and advanced to second on another single by sophomore catcher Trent Kaltenbach (Plain City/ Jonathan Alder). Montgomery scored on a single by sophomore 3B Spencer Badia (Bellaire) to make it 3-1. Junior two-time All-OAC right fielder/ 2B Cole Nieto (Brunswick/ Cleveland St. Ignatius) singled to score Kaltenbach to make it 3-2. Badia scored to tie it at 3-3 when senior four-time All-OAC shortstop/ pitcher Mark Zimmerman singled. Junior designated hitter Kevin Hagen (Brecksville/ Cleveland St. Ignatius) joined the hit parade with a single to score Nieto and give BW the lead.

Otterbein tied the game 4-4 with a run in the bottom of the seventh.

The Yellow Jackets regained a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth when Hagen doubled. After he was removed for a pinch runner, BW executed a perfect sacrifice bunt. It paid off when Montgomery singled to score the pinch runner, sophomore Chase Knodle (Poland/ Seminary).  The lead was short-lived as Otterbein scored one of its own via a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame to knot it at 5-5.

BW gained a 6-5 lead in the top of the 10th when Zimmerman walked, moved to second when senior three-time first-team All-OAC first baseman/ DH Hunter Handel (Akron/ Green) was hit by a pitch and then scored when freshman Phil Wells (Buffalo, N.Y./ St. Joseph's Collegiate) had a clutch pinch-hit single. Again, the Cardinals countered with a run in the bottom of the 10th.

In the 11th, Kaltenbach reached base on an error, moved to second when Taylor had a bunt single. A double play moved Kaltenbach to third and when Nieto was hit by a pitch, BW had runners at first and third. Zimmerman came through with a clutch single to score Kaltenbach and give BW a 7-6 lead.

On the mound, sophomore two-time All-OAC left-hander Evan Lovick (Mentor) started and pitched the first inning and received a no-decision. Senior righty Tom Loeffler (Shaker Heights) relieved Lovick in the second inning and pitched 10 innings to earn the win and improve to 2-0. He allowed eight hits and three runs (all earned), struck out seven and walked five in the longest appearance of his career.

At the plate, Zimmerman led the way by going 3-for-5 with a run scored, a stolen base and two runs batted-in (RBI). In addition, Hagen was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, Montgomery was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, and Taylor was 2-for-4.

BW and Marietta have played three times this season. The two teams split a doubleheader at Marietta earlier this season in OAC regular season p[lay. The Pioneers beat BW, 1-0, in the first round on Thursday in a very good game.