PITTSBURGH, PA – La Roche College Baseball (27-11) fell to 2-time defending National Champion #9 Marietta College (28-10) in their final game at John Arnold Sr. Memorial Field before the AMCC Tournament starts on Thursday.
Starting pitcher James Connelly got off to a hot start with a 1-2-3 inning, retiring two batters via strikeout and another with a harmless grounder to shortstop. The Redhawks almost took the lead in the bottom half of the inning but Sean Lubin was thrown out at the plate on a delayed steal to keep the game scoreless.
Marietta got on the board with a two-out rally in the top of the third. Jordan Grilliot snuck a single into right field before a walk put runners on first and second. Connelly got the pitch in on the hands and jammed the 3-hitter, but Hopper fought it off and blooped a hit just out of reach of a diving Shane Healey into right to pick up an RBI and give Marietta an early 1-0 lead.
The Redhawks responded in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Colin Williamson led off with a sharp ground ball that ate up the shortstop and resulted in an error. A sacrifice bunt by Lubin put Williamson in scoring position for Healey, who delivered a two-out RBI single on a line drive to left field to tie the game at 1-1. Dan Burns hit a chopper to shortstop that resulted in another error and extended the inning before Matt Sabatini smoked a line drive to right to pick up an RBI and give the Redhawks a 2-1 lead. Brad Goedeker was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Tyler Craig, who narrowly missed a grand slam with a deep fly to left that was caught on the warning track.
Tyler Ferguson took over for Connelly in the fourth and struck out the side in his first inning of work.
The Pioneers however rallied in the top of the fifth inning after Zach Bukiewicz led off and reached on an error and got to second on a sacrifice bunt. Grilliot singled on a ground ball up the middle to pick up an RBI and knot things up at 2-2. A walk put runners on first and second and with two-outs and Toth singled up the middle to retake a 3-2 lead. Chris Winpigler smacked a ground-rule double to centerfield, increasing the lead to 4-2.
Marietta tacked two more on in the sixth inning and one more in the seventh and ninth before La Roche got one back in the 9-3 loss.
Watson, Lubin, Healey, Sabatini, and Craig each registered 2 hits and Healey, Craig, and Williamson scored runs. Lubin, Healey, and Sabatini notched RBIs for the Redhawks.
La Roche will travel to Erie, PA on Thursday for an AMCC Tournament Semifinal Game against Mt. Aloysius. First-pitch is scheduled for 9AM.