Updated Sat, May 11, 2013 4:00 pm
After being shocked by Otterbein in the first round of Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament action Friday afternoon, the two-time defending Division III National Champion Marietta Pioneers kept their season alive with a miraculous four-run rally in the bottom of the 13th to take down John Carroll 11-10.
Going into the top of the 13th, neither team managed to score a run in extras and of the score remained 7-7. Marietta’s Evan Brockmeier threw six and two thirds innings of one-run baseball before surrendering three runs in the top half of the inning on three hits by Jimmy Spagna, Tyler Gentile, and Ryan Konsle. John Carroll held a 10-7 lead heading into the bottom of the 13th.
With things looking bleak, the “Etta Express” showed no signs of stopping for the Blue Streaks. Brockmeier came to the dish and led off the inning with a walk. Chris Winpigler then cracked his third hit of the afternoon. Kevin Rosinski came in to close things out for John Carroll. A ground ball by Alex Toth scored Brockmeier to narrow the lead to 10-8. Mitch Gears followed with a single to score Winpigler, making it 10-9, and then moved over to third on an Aaron Hopper single.
The next play brought chaos as Ryan Hanahan singled to right field, scoring Hooper. Right fielder Ryan Konsler unleashed a throw to third base that sailed past the third baseman, which enabled Mitch Geers to score and the Pioneers to live to play again with a thrilling 11-10 victory.
Early on, Marietta made things look like they would come easily all day, scoring first, courtesy of a Brockheimer single scoring the first Pioneer run. First-inning singles from Mitch Geers and Bryan Gregorich both plated two as Marietta sprinted out to an early 5-0 lead.
After jumping out of the gates in the first, runs did not come easily for most of the remainder of the game. The Pioneers only scored two over the next 11 innings before the four-run 13th.
The Pioneers would have to stave off a John Carroll offensive onslaught. The Blue Streaks scored two runs in the fifth, both via a Tim McCoy double down the right field line, and three in the sixth.
John Carroll had to score in the ninth just to play extras, and would score by a combination of a single, sacrifice-bunt, hit-by-pitch, throwing error, and sacrifice-fly, knotting it up at 7-7 and sending it to extras after Marietta failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.
Mike Mulvey started on the mound for the Pioneers, going four and one third innings allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits. Mike Fulton came on in relief and would only manage to go an inning allowing three Streaks to score. Brockmeier would come on in strong relief to earn the win on seven and two thirds innings of work.
Marietta, which has won the last two OAC championships, still has a chance to win a third straight and what would be the 34th in school history.
The Etta Express chugs along to face Otterbein once again, with a chance to play Mount Union with the OAC Championship game on the line.