No. 2 Marietta and No. 5 Heidelberg split OAC doubleheader

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TIFFIN, Ohio — The Mideast Region's top two baseball teams split an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader Sunday (April 17) afternoon in Peaceful Valley. No. 2 Marietta College won game one 12-0 and No. 5 Heidelberg University took game two 8-6. [Game 1 Box Score] [Game 2 Box Score]

With the split, the Pioneers (24-3, 9-1 OAC) maintained a one-game advantage over the Student Princes (24-6, 9-2 OAC) in the standings with eight games left on the league slate.

Junior ace Brian Gasser (New Philadelphia/Indian Valley) threw another gem in game one. The right-hander completely shut down the high-powered Heidelberg offense, limiting it to just two singles in six innings. Gasser, who improved to a league-best 8-0, worked around one walk and struck out four in the win.

Marietta, who out-hit Heidelberg 13-2, broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third. Senior Casey Levens (Dayton/Centerville) singled. Sophomore Braden Park (Oxford/Talawanda) doubled. Sophomore Alex Toth (Painesville/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) then drove in Levens with a single over the second baseman's head. Senior John Snyder (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) later added a two-out, two-run double to give the Pioneers a 3-0 advantage.

The Pioneers then took command of the game with a six-run fourth. Sophomore Aaron Hopper (Wheelersburg/Wheelersburg) started the Etta Express' engine with a double. Sophomore Evan Brockmeier (Marietta/Marietta) followed with a bunt single. A sacrifice fly from Levens drove in Hopper. After a walk to Park, Grilliot laced a RBI single. A walk to Becker was followed by a two-run single by Snyder. Junior Tim Saunders (Alliance/Alliance) worked the third walk of the inning, before Hopper added a two-run single.

A RBI triple from Saunders and then a two-run home run shot over the right field fence by Hopper extended Marietta's lead to 12-0 in the sixth.

Sophomore Mike Mulvey pitched a perfect seventh to preserve the eighth shutout for the Etta Express this season.

Hopper led Marietta's offense with three hits, including a double and a home run, and four RBI in four at-bats. Snyder also contributed four RBI in his two-hit day. Toth was the third Pioneer to collect multiple hits in the win.

Ethan Holt was tagged with the loss after the Pioneers plated 11 runs on 11 hits in five and two-thirds. Holt (5-1) walked five and struck out three.

Heidelberg took advantage of three Marietta errors to jump out to a 3-0 advantage in the first and then boosted its lead to 6-0 in the second.

Hopper delivered a two-run single to get the Pioneer offense going in the top of the third. Grilliot then doubled home a run and later scored from second base on a wild pitch to pull the Etta Express within a pair, 6-4, in the fourth.

The Student Princes scored single runs in the fourth and sixth to push their cushion to 8-4. Marietta made it interesting with a two-run ninth but left a pair of runners on base as Heidelberg salvaged the split with the 8-6 win.

Neither starter made it out for the fifth inning. Junior Austin Blaski (Pandora/Gilboa), who took the loss to fall to 6-2, allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits, walked one and struck out two in four frames. Brian Koehl gave up four runs on six hits, walked four and fanned five in his four innings.

Andy Lowe stymied the Pioneers bats over the final five innings to earn the win and improve to 2-1. Lowe, who did not allow a hit until the ninth, and struck out eight in the victory.

Marietta relievers Mark Williams (Fayetteville/Perry) and Kyle Lindquist (Columbus/Worthington Kilbourne) both pitched two frames. Williams allowed one run on two hits and fanned four, while Lindquist scattered three hits without giving up a run.

Grilliot and Snyder both had two hits of the Pioneers' nine hits in the second game. Gar Keen led the Student Princes with a 4-for-5 afternoon.

Marietta is back in action at 4 p.m. Tuesday (April 19) when it plays host to Muskingum University in an OAC doubleheader at Don Schaly Stadium.