VIRGINIA BEACH -- Junior Sean Greiserhelped to set the tone for the Virginia Wesleyan College baseball team on Saturday as the Marlins moved closer to finalizing one of the program's best regular-seasons ever in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) competition.
Gresier (Virginia Beach/Floyd E. Kellam)struck out a career-high 12 batters to help guide the Marlins to a 5-1 victory over the Roanoke College Maroons in the first game of the doubleheader at Marlins Field. Strong hitting took over for VWC in the second game as the Marlins belted seven extra-base hits, highlighted by a home run from Jordan Miller(Chesapeake/Grassfield), in a 10-6 win to complete the sweep.
It was the sixth league sweep of the season for the Marlins, who improved to 13-4 in conference play, tying the program's fourth highest victory total since Virginia Wesleyan began competing in the ODAC in 1990. The 2003 Marlins won 17 regular-season ODAC games, the highest total in VWC history.
VWC has three regular-season ODAC games remaining, beginning on Tuesday, April 14, when the Marlins host the No. 15-ranked Yellow Jackets of Randolph-Macon College at 3:30 p.m. Regular-season action ends on Saturday, April 18, when the Marlins host a doubleheader against the Royals of Eastern Mennonite University beginning at noon.
Solid pitching put the Marlins on path to Saturday's sweep as Greiser faced just 28 batters in seven full innings on the mound. In addition to his dozen of strikeouts, he limited the Maroons (13-10, 8-6) to just two walks and three hits. Sophomores Riley Koonce (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) and Austin Gammon (North Chesterfield/L.C. Bird)followed for an inning each in relief and combined to strike out three more Maroons. The total of 15 strikeouts marked a season high for the VWC pitching staff.
Virginia Wesleyan took a lead it never lost in the second inning, which included a double down the left field line from Miller. Sophomore C.J. Lindsay(Remington/Bealeton Liberty)followed with his second home run of the season to send the Marlins into a 2-0 lead. Roanoke took back a run in the top of the sixth when Cal Hodgert (Lynchburg/Jefferson Forest) hit a solo homer, but VWC took it back in the bottom of the inning. The Marlins scored three runs in the inning, highlighted by a solo home run from senior Josh Mason(Chesapeake/Virginia Beach Bishop Sullivan Catholic), his team-leading fourth of the seaosn.
VWC outhit Roanoke 6-5, led by senior Zach Bach(Virginia Beach/Frank W. Cox) with two singles.
John Ruhlman (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) took the pitching loss and fell to 3-2 on the season. He struck out seven, walked five and gave up six hits.
While pitching spurred the Marlins in the first game, it was steady hitting that helped produce the win in the second contest. Virginia Wesleyan recorded 14 hits, its fourth highest total of the season, and scored at least one run in in six of eight innings at the plate.
Roanoke scored first, posting a run in the top of the first inning, helped by a Craig Kiley (Chapel Hill, N.C./Christ School) double. But, Virginia Wesleyan answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and stayed in front the rest of the way. Justin Erby (Norfolk/Lake Taylor) and Miller sandwiched doubles around a Bach single to help plate the runs.
Roanoke closed with a 4-3 score with a run in the top of the fifth, only to see Virginia Wesleyan answer with six runs through the next three times at bat to open up a 10-3 lead heading into the eighth inning. Virginia Wesleyan stroked eight hits in those three innings, including triples from Taylor Erby, Bach, and Nik Milvo (Norfolk/Chesapeake Indian River), and a Mason double.
Miller led VWC hitting with a solo home run, a double, and a single, and Milvo added a triple and two singles. Justin Erby added a double and single and Bach contributed with a triple and a single.
Senior Alex Tucci(Stewartstown, Pa./York Catholic) started for the Marlins and improved his record to 2-2 with the win. He pitched in four innings and struck out one batter, walked one and gave up five hits. Rookie Nick Bay(Virginia Beach/Frank W. Cox), Koonce and Gammon all followed in relief. Bay threw to 10 batters and struck out four, while allowing a walk and three hits.
Five pitchers worked for Roanoke, beginning with Diego Meneses (Guatemala City/Christchurch) who took the loss and fell to 1-1. Michael Mares (Fredericksburg/Colonial Forge), Eli Sumpter (Charlottesville/Western Albemarle), and Meneses all pitched in two innings and all three struck out two batters each.
Lucas Nowlin (Roanoke/Northside) topped Roanoke hitting in the second game with three singles.