BEREA - The top- ranked Marietta College Pioneers clinched at least a share of the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season title with a doubleheader sweep at Baldwin-Wallace College Sunday. The Etta Express posted its 11th shutout of the season with a 7-0 win in game one. The Pioneers took the second game by a 7-2 margin.
Marietta improved to 30-5 on the season and 14-2 in the OAC. Baldwin-Wallace dropped to 27-11 and 9-7 in the conference.
Austin Blaski (8-1) tossed a gem in the first game going the distance and allowing just three base hits, all singles. He walked three and struck out four Yellow Jackets.
The Pioneers jumped on Baldwin-Wallace early with four runs in the first inning and another in the fifth.
Jordan Grilliot, Kirby Becker and Tim Saunders singled to load the bases with no outs in the first. Aaron Hopper singled down the left field line scoring Grilliot and Becker.
A sacrifice bunt by Mitch Geers moved Saunders and Hopper to second and third. Following a strikeout, Bryan Gregorich delivered a two-out single that plated Saunders and Hopper giving Marietta a 4-0 lead.
Saunders tripled and scored on a passed ball in the top of the second.
Marietta extended its lead to 7-0 in the fifth. Evan Brockmeier and Gregorich each drove in a run for the Pioneers in the inning.
The Yellow Jackets threatened in the bottom of the fifth. Baldwin-Wallace loaded the bases with two outs, but Blaski struck out Anthony Longhitano to end the inning and preserve the shutout.
Gregorich went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in. Saunders and Hopper were each 2-for-4. Saunders added a triple and two runs scored, while Hopper had a double, two runs scored and two RBI.
Baldwin-Wallace came out fighting in game two. The Yellow Jackets scored a run in the first and another in the second to take the early 2-0 lead. Marietta tied the game with a pair of runs in the third.
Saunders reached on a one-out single and moved to second on a single from Hopper. Saunders stole third and scored on a fielder's choice from Brockmeier. Geers followed with a double to right field that scored Brockmeier.
Neither team scored in the middle three innings as Marietta starting pitcher Brian Gasser and B-W starter Jon Capadona and reliever Jon Tenley kept the hitters off balance.
Gasser (8-2) would go on to get the win throwing six innings and giving up two earned runs on six hits, He walked three and struck out five.
Capadona pitched five innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits. Capadona walked two and struck out six in the no decision.
Tenley (0-2) was charged with the loss. He tossed three innings and gave up four runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout. Anthony Alioto pitched the ninth and allowed one run on one hit.
The Pioneers took the lead with three runs in the seventh and then added one in the eight and another in the ninth.
Saunders started the seventh with a triple. Hopper walked and stole second. A passed ball scored Saunders and moved Hopper to third. Geers knocked in Hopper when he reached on an infield error. Geers would eventually score on an RBI-single by Alex Toth.
After taking the 5-2 lead in the top of the seventh, Marietta turned the game over to Kyle Lindquist. Lindquist allowed two hits over the final three innings to record his fifth save of the season. Lindquist has now pitched 20.1 innings this year and has yet to allow a run.
Saunders continued to swing the hot bat for the Pioneers going 4-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored. Gregorich and Toth each had two hits, while Brockmeier tripled for the second time this spring.
The Pioneers are back in action on Friday when they travel to Wilmington College for a 1 p.m. doubleheader.