No. 2 Marietta Downs W&J 9-5
MARIETTA, OHIO – Second-ranked and defending NCAA Division III champion Marietta produced 13 hits and defeaed Washington & Jefferson 9-5 in non-conference baseball action from Don Schaly Stadium on Monday.
W&J, which has lost back-to-back games for the first time this spring, fell to 16-4 (7-2 PAC), while the Pioneers upped their record to 18-4 (5-1 OAC).
Marietta jumped on the scoreboard first as Aaron Hopper knocked in a pair of runs with a first-inning triple, giving the Pioneers a 2-0 edge.
Sophomore designated hitter Derek McIlvaine (Washington, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) started a Presidents’ rally with a leadoff single in the third. Classmate Tyler Schultz (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville) plated McIlvaine with a double and then scored on junior second baseman Scott Liller’s (Moon Townshi, Pa./Moon) triple one batter later. Senior shortstop Aaron Klinec (North Olmsted, Ohio/St. Ignatius) gave W&J a 3-2 lead with a sacrifice fly that scored Liller.
The Presidents’ lead was quickly erased by the Pioneers’ offense, as Marietta responded with three runs in the bottom of the third and two more in the fourth to take a 7-3 advantage.
McIlvaine once again jumpstarted the Presidents’ offense in the fifth inning when he was hit by a pitch to start the frame. McIlvaine moved to third on a double by Schultz and was plated by an RBI groundout from Liller. Schultz came home on a wild pitch to cut Marietta’s lead in half.
The Pioneers’ bullpen shut down the Presidents over the final four innings; however, ending W&J’s bid for the upset. Three Pioneer relievers combined to allow just one hit over that span, while striking out five. The Marietta pitching staff, which leads NCAA Division III with a 1.63 team ERA, totaled 10 strikeouts on the night.
Sophomore right-hander Brian O’Neill (Columbus, Ohio/St. Charles Prep) allowed five earned runs on seven hits, while fanning one in three innings to take the loss. Mike Mahaffey earned the win after surrendering five runs on five hits in five innings.
Schultz paced W&J at the plate with a pair of hits, two runs scored and one RBI in three at-bats. Liller added one hit and two runs batted in, while McIlvaine was 1-for-2 with a pair of runs.
Hopper and Mitch Geers both produced three hits in five plate appearances to lead Marietta.
The Presidents return to conference play with a three-game series against Waynesburg beginning Friday at Ross Memorial Park at 4:30 pm.