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.
July 25, 2016 Mark Zimmerman ‘16 Pitching Well for Padres
June 11, 2016 Mark Zimmerman Drafted by San Diego Padres in 33rd Round
May 17, 2016 Badia and Taylor Named Academic All-OAC in Baseball
May 3, 2016 Baseball Team Getting Hot at the Right Time
April 25, 2016 Zimmerman Earns Third Career OAC Hitter-of-the-Week Honor
April 19, 2016 Baseball Team Sweeps at ONU, Jackets Win 13-0 and 10-2
April 17, 2016 Baseball Team Wins at Pitt-Bradford, 14-7
April 14, 2016 Baseball Team Loses at Wooster
April 11, 2016 Lovick Garners First Career OAC Pitcher-of-the-Week Honor
April 10, 2016 Baseball Team Splits OAC Twinbill at First Place Marietta
April 5, 2016 BW Baseball Team Loses OAC Twinbill to Otterbein
March 30, 2016 Baseball Team Splits Twinbill at Allegheny (Pa.)
March 29, 2016 Miscues Hurt BW Baseball Team in 6-3 Loss at CWRU
March 26, 2016 BW Baseball Team Sweeps OAC-Opening Twinbill at JCU
March 19, 2016 Baseball Team Drops a Pair of Non-Conference Games
March 8, 2016 Baseball Falls at Texas Lutheran
March 5, 2016 Baseball Team Sweeps Anderson (Ind.) in Kentucky
February 28, 2016 No. 19 Baseball Team Splits at Spalding (Ky.)
February 27, 2016 No. 19 Baseball Team Beats Wheaton (Ill.), 15-6
February 21, 2016 No. 19 Baseball Team Opens With a Pair of Losses to LaRoche (Pa.)
February 19, 2016 No. 19 BW Baseball Team Seeks OAC Title and Third Straight NCAA Trip
February 18, 2016 No. 19 Baseball Announces Changes to Weekend Schedule
January 21, 2016 BW Names its Baseball Field Fisher Field for its Legendary Coach
January 8, 2016 BW Baseball Coach Speaks at ABCA National Convention