Pios deck cards: No. 6 Marietta College sweeps Otterbein University

In a battle of two of the top teams in the Ohio Athletic Conference, No. 6 Marietta College came away with a pair of victories over Otterbein in a doubleheader at Don Schaly Stadium Wednesday.

The Pioneers and Cardinals came into the day first and fourth in the conference, respectively, separated by just two games in the standings.

MC is now 20-7 overall and 10-2 in the conference. After Baldwin-Wallace lost one out of two to Heidelberg Wednesday, Marietta takes over sole possession of first place in the OAC.

“It’s huge,” said Marietta College skipper Brian Brewer of the sweep over the Cardinals.

“More importantly, I think we played really well today. We didn’t put up a ton of runs in game one, but I thought we played really well. The second game we got a little lackadaisical and started hitting some balls in the air, but for the most part we thought we played really well today and that’s a big double header sweep.”

The Etta Express received two gems on the mound from Evan Brockmeier in game one and Mike Finlan in the night cap and took advantage of five Cardinal errors on the day.

“Brock was exceptional,” Brewer said. “His breaking ball is coming along and that’s what he struggled with a little bit early on. He’s starting to command the breaking ball which is gonna make him a lot better. Finlan’s been doing this since Florida, he just hasn’t had many opportunities. It’s huge when you get to your three and four guys in the rotation, you get seven or eight innings out of them, that goes a long way.”

Marietta, which never trailed in either contest, got on the board early in the first game.

Leadoff batter Jordan Grilliot got things started with a base on balls. After Evan Brockmeier sacrificed Grilliot to second, Aaron Hopper and Alex Toth hit consecutive singles to plate the game’s first run.

It became a 4-0 game in the bottom of the third. With two on and two out, Mitch Geers singled to right field to bring home Hopper and move Tim McCoy to third. After Geers stole second, Bryan Gregorich drove in both runners on a base hit up the middle.

Two innings later, the Pios found some two out magic again. After Geers drew a walk, he came all the way around to score on a Gregorich double to right-center field, making it a 5-0 Pioneer advantage.

Brockmeier, who went the distance for MC, had his lone blemish come in the top of the sixth on a solo homerun from Jordan Ashbrook. Overall, the Marietta High product gave up just two hits, struck out four and gave out no free pass en route to earning his fourth victory of the season.

Wes Meadows suffered his first loss of the season for Otterbein, surrendering all five Pioneer runs in five innings of work.

Game two was more of the same, as Marietta jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and was never threatened by the Cardinals.

Grilliot led off the bottom of the first with his third long ball of the season.

“Jordan’s going a little bit right now,” Brewer said. “He’s really getting after it and having some good games for us which is good to see because he’s our leadoff guy. He’s our spark.”

Later in the inning, with the bases juiced, Geers hit an RBI single to right followed by a sacrifice fly to center by Gregorich to bring in another run.

The Pios manufactured a run in the second inning. Christian Demko led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Zach Bukiewicz’s sac bunt. Grilliot then lifted a fly ball to left field deep enough to bring home Demko and make the score 4-0.

After an error led to a Pioneer run in the fourth, MC put up a four-spot in the fifth to blow the game open. The fifth inning was highlighted by a two-run double down the right field line for Gregorich.

Meanwhile, Finlan was hanging zeros on the scoreboard from hill. Like Brockmeier in game one, Finlan’s lone run given up came on a solo homer, this time from Meadows, in the seventh inning. The Pios would get that run back in the next half inning an RBI-flyout from Demko.

Finlan’s line on the night was eight innings, two strikeouts, no walks and four hits. He is now 2-0 on the year.

Taylor Ellis suffered the mound loss for the Cardinals in game two, allowing six earned runs in five innings. Ellis had previously been 4-0 with a .93 earned run average.

Up next for Marietta is a crucial double header Saturday at John Carroll. The Blue Streaks are currently third in the OAC with an 8-4 record after splitting a twin bill with Muskingum Wednesday. Brewer is hoping the weather isn’t a factor.

“I think they’re calling for a high of 45 or something,” the coach said.

“We get our one and two (pitcher). They’ll get their one and two. They’ve given us fits up there three out of the last four years. I can’t remember the last time we swept them in a double header. We’re gonna have our work cut out for us. We’re gonna have to play really hard and execute our philosophies and hopefully everything else will take care of itself.”

First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.