ERRORS HAUNT: Marietta struggles defensively in 9-3 loss to Zanesville
When you give your opponent and extra out each inning the end result is usually not very good on the baseball diamond.
Marietta committed eight errors in seven innings Wednesday night at Legion Field and the Zanesville Blue Devils scored seven unearned runs en route to a 9-3 victory over the Tigers in an East Central Ohio League contest.
Zanesville scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning and three more in the third to take an early 5-0 lead and then relied on a solid starting pitcher effort by Josh Clark to notch their second win of the season in three attempts.
The defensive struggle for the young Tigers began right off the bat when Ashton Myers led off the game for ZHS by reaching base on an error by MHS third baseman Zach Robinson.
Two outs later Clark delivered a double to score Myers and second baseman Matt Devoll followed with a solid knock up the middle to make it 2-0.
The Blue Devils added to their lead in the third thanks to two more Marietta errors with the key hit being a two-out, two-run single by Darrian Timberlake to make it 5-0.
Tiger right fielder Brandon Neville appeared to make a nice diving catch on Timberlake’s hit but the umpire ruled the ball hit the ground before the glove allowing both runs to score.
Marietta starting pitcher Adam McKnight deserved a much better fate on the mound as the senior right hander allowed just four Zanesville base hits and no earned runs in his five innings of work.
“Adam (McKnight) was very effective once again for us tonight,” said Tiger head coach Jim Thrash. “His strength is keeping the ball down and getting ground balls but we just didn’t support him defensively like we needed to.”
Zanesville extended the lead in the top of the sixth inning off of MHS reliever Corey Hill when Myers doubled in a pair of runs to make it a 7-0 game.
The Tigers threatened to claw their way back into the game in their half of the sixth when they chased Clark from the mound by scoring three times.
With one out Neville and Zach Deskins drew back-to-back walks.
After both runners moved up a base on a Clark wild pitch, Tiger junior catcher Josh Moretto doubled over top the third base bag and down the left field line to score both runners.
That would be the last hitter that Clark would face as Blue Devil head coach David Balo elected to relieve him on the mound with Seth Straker.
Straker was greeted with a base hit by Trent Dawson and one-out later Hill reached base on a error to allow the third Tiger run to cross the plate.
Clark allowed just three hits while striking out eight Tiger hitters in his five plus innings of work.
“He’s (Clark) a solid pitcher that understands that once you have a lead you pitch to contact,” said Balo of his junior right hander. “I may have left him in the game just a little too long, but he’s a competitor and he wants the ball.”
Zanesville got two of those runs back in the top of the seventh off of Michael Ullman to cap the scoring and once again both runs were unearned as the orange and black made three errors in the final inning.
“We gave them two more runs in the seventh inning after we put together a little rally in the sixth,” said Thrash. “When you rally back on a team you just can’t let them come back the next at bat and get those runs back.”
Clark was credited with the win for the Blue Devils (2-1), while McKnight was saddled with the tough-luck loss for the 1-2 Tigers.
Marietta will travel to Dover Friday night to take on the Tornadoes in another ECOL match up.