Pioneers to host Fighting Muskies in Saturday twinbill

MARIETTA-A bounce-back win is always a confidence boost.

But beating a league opponent is even better.

That’s what Marietta College (11-7 overall, 2-0 OAC) will be striving for when it plays host to Muskingum University (12-6, 2-0) in a 1 p.m. Ohio Athletic Conference twinbill Saturday at Don Schaly Stadium.

“It’s the closest thing that we have to a crosstown rivalry,” said veteran MC baseball skipper Brian Brewer of the Marietta-Muskingum match-up. “They always give us fits. It’ll be a good test for us, and we’re excited to get back out here Saturday.”

After dropping an 8-5 decision to NCAA D3 No. 22-ranked Frostburg State University in a home opener Tuesday, MC regrouped and drilled visiting Ohio Wesleyan University, 15-5, in another non-conference tilt Wednesday.

“Everyone was scoring, and everybody was hitting,” said Marietta senior center fielder Tim McCoy, who finished 3 for 4 with a triple, double and three runs-batted-in. “It’s fun when that happens. It was a great bounce-back win.”

Looking at the final score, one might think it was a rout from the get-go. But the Pioneers actually trailed the Battling Bishops 4-0 in the third inning of the contest before scoring 11 unanswered runs.

“Against Frostburg, we were also down early, but we knew we had to step up and respond (vs. Ohio Wesleyan),” McCoy said. “You can be down emotionally, etc. But we were able to come back (vs. Ohio Wesleyan).

“That offensive explosion was great. Hopefully, we can carry that into our OAC doubleheader this weekend.”

Added MC catcher Eric White, who drove in six runs against the Battling Bishops, “We know we can score runs. We knew that we could get to their pitcher and could apply the pressure. We stuck with our approach and our match-up so that we could beat them (OWU) today.”

While it’s still early in the season, there is a logjam atop the OAC standings with Marietta, Muskingum, Ohio Northern University and Baldwin Wallace University all owning 2-0 league marks. Capital University and Heidelberg University are also in the hunt, each with a 1-1 record.

“Our number one goal is to win the conference regular-season championship,” Brewer said. “We made some decisions (vs. Ohio Wesleyan) based on that, obviously trying to get our pitching right and bullpen lined up.”

MC right-hander Christian Herstein (1-2, 2.94 ERA) and southpaw Tommy Crowl (1-2, 6.92 ERA) are expected to pitch against the Fighting Muskies. Crowl threw one inning of relief against OWU.

Marietta’s two OAC triumphs this season were against the University of Mount Union.

The Pioneer batters could possibly be facing Muskingum 6-foot-6 freshman righty Evan Hinds (4-0, 3.24 ERA) and Patrick McGinty (2-1, 2.42 ERA).

Muskingum is coming off a 6-2 loss to Wooster (9-2) on Wednesday. The Fighting Muskies’ two OAC victories were against Wilmington College.