Home opening win: Marietta manufactures 9-5 triumph over Morgan

Although Marietta was outhit 9-7 by Morgan in its home opener at Legion Field Tuesday, the Tigers outscored the Raiders 9-5 for their first win of the season.

Marietta stole seven bases and took advantage of five Morgan fielding errors in the game to pull ahead. The Tigers broke open a 3-3 tie with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth.

“We made the most of the hits we got,” said Marietta skipper Jim Thrash, “probably due to the fact that we were aggressive and put the ball in play for the most part. We made them make plays on us and we ran the bases pretty well.”

Freshman Trent Dawson pitched the final 3.1 innings of the game to earn the mound victory.

The Tigers opened up with a run in the first and two more in the second. Isaac Danford led off the bottom of the first with a single before stealing second base and going to third on a wild pitch. Danford then came home on Turner Hill’s groundout to short for the first run of the game.

Dawson added an RBI-single in the second before coming around to score on a freak play later in the inning. With Dawson standing on second base, Anthony Kimbrough struck out but sprinted to first when the catcher dropped the ball. The throw to first was off the mark and rolled into the outfield allowing Dawson to score all the way from second on the play to give the Tigers a 3-0 advantage.

The Raiders, though, used the next two innings to rally back.

Braydon Hoskinson led off the third inning with a double. Next batter Tyler Hook grounded out to short, but Hoskinson hustled to third on the throw to first and ended up scoring when the throw back to third slipped into the outfield.

Morgan’s Mason Edgell started the next inning with a single and came around to score on starting pitcher Dylan Nesselroad’s double to left field. Nesselroad later scored the tying run on a single to center by Hoskinson.

Marietta was quick to respond, however, retaking the lead in the bottom half of the fourth on a run-scoring double by Danford.

Danford ended up coming around to score later in the inning to put Marietta up 5-3.

More errors by Morgan in the fifth inning led to three more Marietta runs. Brandon Neville and Zach Deskins had base hits in the inning to lead the rally.

“We had one or two bad innings there where we kind of lost our heads,” said Morgan head coach Jesse Apperson.

The Tigers added another run in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 9-3. Morgan got back-to-back doubles by Justin Greer and Edgell in the seventh followed by an RBI-single by Nesselroad to cut it to 9-5, but Dawson punched out the final batter to end the game.

Dawson (1-0) finished with five strikeouts and no walks in his varsity pitching debut, including striking out the side in the top of the sixth.

Lefty Jacob Erb started the game and went 3.2 innings. He was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the third. Dawson came in and escaped the jam by forcing Morgan’s Jordan Work to fly out to center.

“The two of them, I’m very pleased with,” Thrash said.

“Jacob was very strong going into that third inning. “Trent, we have a lot of confidence in him. He’s got a nice arm and kept the ball down the whole time he was in there. Until the last inning they weren’t really doing much with him.”

Danford went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored to lead the Tigers.

Edgell, Hoskinson and Nesselroad each had two hits apiece for the Raiders. Those three players, plus Greer, all had doubles. Nesselroad also worked five innings on the mound for Morgan, striking out five and walking two in the loss.

“Overall, I’m very happy with the effort (and) the attitude,” Apperson said. “More importantly, we put the ball in play tonight and that’s something we’ve not done yet this year. I think everybody put the ball in play tonight and that’s a major step in the right direction.”

Marietta, which improved to 1-1, will open up East Central Ohio League play with Zanesville tonight at Legion Field. Morgan is also at home this evening against Muskingum Valley League foe Sheridan. Both games are scheduled to begin at 5.