Otterbein tops Marietta 5-0 in OAC Tournament first round

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ALLIANCE, Ohio — Junior Craig Prince tossed a complete-game, three hitter as Otterbein University, the No. 3 seed, upset two-seeded Marietta College 5-0 in the opening round of the 2017 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament Thursday (May 11) afternoon at 23rd Street Field on the campus of the University of Mount Union.

The Cardinals (29-12 overall) advance in the winners bracket and will play top-seeded Mount Union (30-9), a 5-0 winner over No. 4 seed John Carroll, Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. The Etta Express (21-17) will face John Carroll (18-21) in the losers bracket at 12:30 p.m.

Defensive miscues proved costly for Marietta as three Pioneer errors resulted in four unearned runs for the Cardinals. Otterbein score three unearned runs in the first inning and that was all the run support Prince would need.

Prince (7-3) didn't allow a hit until the fifth innings and finished with 10 strikeouts in 9.0 innings of work. He allowed three hits and walked two.

Ben Beachy led off the game for Otterbein and was hit by an Ian Luttrell pitch. Knowing runs would be at a premium, Cardinal skipper George Powell called for the sac bunt. Dom Guzzi dropped down a bunt and the Pioneers threw the ball away at first base moving the runners to second and third base.

Bryan Stopar grounded out to short scoring Beachy and moving Guzzi to third. Stephan Hernon followed with a groundout to third plating Guzzi.

Connor Brett and Brock Frentzel reached on consecutive singles brining Christian Chiero to the plate. Chiero hit a ground ball to second that by the Pioneer fielder allowing Brett to score the third unearned run of the inning. Chiero was caught trying to steal second to end the inning.

Marietta put a pair of runner on base in the third inning. Prince beaned Chris Petrucci and Greg Peffley reached on a throwing error. But Prince got Eric White to fly out to end the threat.

Michael Barnabei led off the Marietta fifth inning with a double down the leftfield line to break up Prince's no-hitter. But once again, the junior right-hander rose to the challenge retiring the next three Pioneers.

Otterbein added an insurance run in the seventh. Beachy led off with an infield single and was sacrificed to second. A wild pitch allowed him to move over to third and where he scored on a ground out by Stopar.

The Pioneers tried to put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh. Barnabei singled to center and Grant Helber followed with an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop. Prince preserved the shutout by striking out the next Pioneer hitter for the third out.

The Cardinals extended their lead to 5-0 with an unearned run in the ninth. Frentzel delivered a two-out RBI single driving in Guzzi who reached on an error.

Luttrell (2-4) started and took the loss for the Pioneers. He was charged with three unearned runs on six hits. Luttrell struck out two and walked one. Jacob Baker allowed one run on one hit in 2.0 innings.

Ashton Salyers threw 1.0 shutout inning of relief and Mitch McNabb worked the ninth inning and gave up one unearned run on one hit.

Barnabei went 2-for-4 with a double for Marietta. Helber had the Pioneers' other hit in the game.

If the Pioneers are going to defend their 2016 OAC Tournament crown, they will need to win two games on Friday and two more on Saturday.