Ninth inning heroics lift Marietta over Baldwin Wallace in OAC Tourney opener

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MARIETTA, Ohio - Fans that came to the 2014 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament at Don Schaly Stadium Thursday (May 8) were treated to a pitcher's duel that pitted Marietta College's ace Christian Herstine up against Baldwin Wallace University's Cory Waite.

Herstine went eight innings giving up two runs on five hits, walking five and striking out five. "I had to continue to throw strikes," Hernstine said.

The top seeded Pioneers (29-12 overall) utilized a two-run ninth inning to cap a 3-2 comeback win over the fourth seeded Yellow Jackets (22-17 overall).

"That's what the postseason is all about," Marietta head coach Brain Brewer said.

Jason Byers (10-0), who pitched the ninth inning for the Pioneers, notched the win on the hill. Waite (5-1) was hit the loss, his first of the season.

The two pitchers traded scoreless innings until the top of the fourth inning when Mark Zimmerman singled to lead off before Kyle Chontos drilled a ball down the right field line and hooked it just inside the foul pole for a two-run homerun to put
the Yellow Jackets up 2-0.

Marietta mounted their own rally in the home half of the fifth. After the first two batters reached base Kevin Johnston eventually scored on a sacrifice fly out by
Christian Demko.

Both pitchers then went back to throwing zeros on the scoreboard. Baldwin Wallace had chances down the stretch to extend its lead, but the Pioneers' pitching and defense were able to hold the Yellow Jackets in check.

In the sixth frame, Baldwin Wallace left a player in scoring position. In the seventh frame another man was stranded in scoring position for BW. Over the next two innings two more men were left in scoring position. In the last four innings, the Yellow Jackets left a total of six men on base and four in scoring position.

Meanwhile the Marietta College offense had been shut down since the fifth inning. In the next three innings the Pioneers went down in order, four by strike out.

The top seed came to bat in the final inning needing a run to tie and a pair to win. Ryan Hanahan drew a walk on a full count to lead off the ninth ending a streak of 11 straight batters retired by Waite. Josh Ungerbuehler dropped down a bunt, but the throw to cut down Hanahan at second sailed into centerfield putting runners at the corners with nobody out.

After a strike out, freshman Ryan Annett pinch hit and flied out to centerfield plating Hanahan and knotting the game. Tim McCoy then laced a one ball, two strike pitch into right center field, scoring Ungerbuehler with the winning run.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," McCoy said. "With two strikes our approach is to hit it back side and I was able to slap it over the second baseman's head."

Marietta College will face the winner of John Carroll and Heidelberg at 11:00 a.m. Friday and Baldwin Wallace will face the loser of the late game at 2:00 p.m. Friday.