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Baseball Team Loses 6-5 to Marietta in OAC Title Game

Spencer Badia
Spencer Badia
WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The third-seeded Baldwin Wallace University baseball team lost to second-seeded Marietta College, 6-5, in the 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference Championship Game on Fishbaugh Field at host Otterbein University.

The Yellow Jackets (23-20) advanced to the championship game following a 1-0 loss to Marietta (28-15) on Thursday and a pair of one-run wins yesterday, 6-5 versus fourth-seeded John Carroll University (19-22) in the early afternoon and a 7-6 triumph in 11 innings against Otterbein in the late afternoon.  Marietta advanced to the title game with a 1-0 win versus BW on Thursday and an 11-8 victory against top-seed Otterbein (32-10) on Friday. With its win, Marietta receives the OAC's automatic berth in the 2016 NCAA Division III national tournament. The regional tournaments begin next weekend.

Marietta gained a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning via a two-run home run. A walk, a pitching change, another walk and a single plated the third Pioneer run of the frame for a 3-0 advantage.

BW cut the Pioneer lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth when sophomore third baseman Spencer Badia (Bellaire) doubled, moved to third on a single by junior All-OAC right fielder Cole Nieto (Brunswick/ Cleveland/ St. Ignatius) and scored on a single by three-time All-OAC shortstop/ pitcher Mark Zimmerman (Akron/ Green). Unfortunately on the relay throw, the Marietta defense cut down Nieto at third base for the first out. Then a double play ended the threat

The Yellow Jackets tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the eighth when senior two-time Academic All-OAC center fielder John Taylor (Stow/ Hudson) led off with a single and Badia doubled him to third. After a fly out, back-to-back singles by Zimmerman and two-time first-team All-OAC first baseman Hunter Handel (Akron/ Green) drove home Taylor and Badia.

The Pioneers came right back in the bottom of the eighth to score the winning runs when Marietta senior CF Tim McCoy crushed a three-run homer, his second of the game. He and MC senior pitcher Christian Herstine, who pitched a complete-game three-hitter in a 1-0 win on Thursday and closed today's game with a save, were named as the Dick Fishbaugh Co-Most Valuable Players in the tourney.

In the ninth with one out, sophomore catcher Trent Kaltenbach (Plain City/ Jonathan Alder) singled and Taylor walked. Herstine entered the game for MC and walked Badia. After a pop up for the second out, Zimmerman laced a single up the middle to score Kaltenbach and Taylor to make it 6-5. A ground out ended the game.

On the mound, senior right-hander Alex Albright (North Royalton), who earned the win yesterday with six innings of relief versus JCU, started and pitched the first two innings. He received a no-decision. Albright allowed four hits and three runs (all earned) and walked a trio of Pioneers. Senior righty Brandon Cichocki (Walled Lake, Mich./ Central) followed Albright and pitched two innings, allowed three hits, no runs, struck out three and walked one.

Senior righty Connor Murphy (Westford, Mass./ Northeast) entered the game in the fifth and pitched three and two-third innings. He allowed six hits and two runs (both earned) and struck out one. He suffered the loss to fall to 0-5 this season. Senior righty Tom Loeffler (Shaker Heights) relieved Murphy and threw one-third innings, allowed one hit and one run (earned) and struck out one.

At the plate, Marietta outhit BW, 14-9.  Zimmerman, Badia, and Nieto led the way for BW. Zimmerman was 2-for-4 with three runs batted-in (RBI), Badia was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a pair of doubles. Nieto was 2-for-4.

BW was represented on the All-Tournament team by Zimmerman, Nieto and Loeffler, who threw a strong 10 innings of relief in Friday's 7-6 win in 11 innings versus Otterbein.