Evan Brockmeier did a little bit of everything Wednesday in the Marietta College Pioneers’ 8-5 victory over the La Roche College Redhawks.
The Marietta High School graduate, who started the game at shortstop, pounded out three singles, scored a pair of runs, knocked in another and to top it off came in to pitch a pair of scoreless innings to close out the game and collect his second save of the young season.
“We knew coming into today that La Roche was a very solid team,” said Brockmeier of the Etta Express’ tenth victory of the season. “They are fundamentally sound and swing the bats really well so it was encouraging to get a good team win today.”
The Pioneers were able to schedule the game with La Roche at the last hour after Tuesday’s scheduled double header with Kenyon was postponed due to poor weather conditions.
With a double header up coming on Friday at Ohio Northern to open the Ohio Athletic Conference season, Pioneer head coach Brian Brewer elected to limit his pitchers to only a couple of innings apiece as the temperature at game time was a blustery 41 degrees.
Left hander Jason Byers got the start for the Pioneers and tossed a pair of scoreless innings before being followed to the hill by ace right hander Mike Mulvey.
Mulvey allowed a pair of hits and fanned three in his two scoreless innings of work and left with a 4-0 lead after the Pioneers scored two times in each of the third and fourth innings respectively.
Third baseman Bryan Gregorich and freshman right fielder Tim McCoy got the third inning started with back-to-back singles and after a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Packanik, Jordan Grilliot’s sacrifice fly and Brockmeier’s run scoring single gave the Pio’s a 2-0 lead.
The first two Pioneer runners reached on bases on balls in the fourth inning and first baseman Mitch Geers made Redhawk starting pitcher Ian Kelly pay for his wildness with a 2-run single that made it 4-0.
Brewer elected to go with Stephen Bascom on the mound to start the fifth and La Roche jumped all over the sophomore south paw for four runs on five hits.
Shane Healey opened the inning with a double and shortstop Sean Lubin followed with a single.
Bascom promptly picked Lubin off of first base but the rundown throw from first baseman Geers to Brockmeier got away allowing Healey to score from third.
Brian Tougher followed with an RBI double and one out later Anthony Girdano duplicated that feat to cut the lead to 4-3.
After Bascom got Brad Goedeker to ground out to third, Andrew Zeger delivered a clutch two-out run scoring single and just like that the game was tied at 4-4.
The Etta Express wasted little time jumping back in front in the bottom of the fifth as singles by Grilliot and Brockmeier proceeded a two-run double by center fielder Aaron Hopper to make it a 6-4 game.
The double was the 54th of Hopper’s MC career moving him into third place on the all-time list just ahead of Jay Coakley(53) and just behind Joe Thomas (57) and Josh Streit (60).
Mike Fulton became the next Pioneer to toe the rubber and the Redhawks touched him up for a solo run in the top of the sixth on another RBI double by Tougher.
Marietta College grabbed insurance runs in both the seventh and the eight innings on an RBI single by Packanik and a bases loaded walk issued to Geers.
Among the dozen hits collected by the Pioneers were a pair each by Grilliot and McCoy, the freshman whose hot bat of late has him in the running for increased playing time.
“Timmy (McCoy) is working his way into the discussion and could force us into making some decisions,” said Brewer, the 2012 Division III Coach of the Year. “He just makes us more athletic and better defensively so its another option and we’re always happy to have options.”
Brockmeier came on to close the deal for the Pioneers, surrendering three hits over his two innings of work but managing to keep the Redhawks off of the scoreboard.
” Brock (Brockmeier) seems to be becoming a lot more comfortable with that back end role,” said Brewer, of his versatile right hander.
The win improved the Pioneers season mark to 10-4, while La Roche dropped to 11-4 with the defeat.
Bascom was credited with the win despite surrendering the four runs to improve his season record to 4-1 while Walt Hadjuk dropped his first decision of the year.
“It was really good win against a team that was a regional tournament team last year,” said Brewer of the win. “While we appreciate them making the trip over here on short notice, we also appreciate that our kids made the most of the opportunity and came out of it with a W.”
Friday’s double header at Ohio Northern is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.