By Jordan Holland
The Marietta Times
The Marietta College baseball team had the bats out in full force Monday, as the second ranked Pioneers defeated Washington & Jefferson College 9-5 in a non-conference game at Don Schaly Stadium.
The Pioneers came out swinging early. After junior outfielder Jordan Grilliot led off with a single, senior shortstop Tim Saunders drew a walk. This set up Hopper for a two run triple to the right center gap.
Washington & Jefferson responded in the top of the third, as the Presidents scored three in the inning.
After sophomore Derek McIlvaine led off the inning with a single to center field, sophomore Tyler Schultz drove him home with a double to right field.
Marietta 9, Washington & Jefferson 5
At Don Schaly Stadium
W&J 003 020 000 - 5 6 1
MC 203 220 00X - 9 13 1
WP: Mahaffey- 5 IP, 5 SO
LP: O'Neill- 3 IP, 1 SO, 3 BB
W&J hitting: Klinec 0-3, RBI; McIlvaine 1-2, 2 runs; Schultz 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Liller 1-3, 1 run, 2 RBI
MC hitting: Grilliot 2-5, 2 runs; Kirby Becker 1-4, RBI; Hopper 3-5, 1 run, 3 RBI; Geers 3-5, 1 run, RBI; Brockmeier 1-4, 1 run, RBI; Gregorich 2-4, 1 run, RBI; Alex Toth 1-3
Next games: Marietta- Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Muskingum; Washington & Jefferson- Friday at 4:30 p.m. vs. Waynesburg
Junior Scott Liller followed with a triple down the right field line, allowing Schultz to score. Liller would then be driven home by a sacrifice fly from senior Aaron Klinec, making the score 3-2.
The Pioneers answered right back in the bottom half of the inning. With Saunders at third and Hopper at first, Hopper attempted to steal second. Although he was thrown out, Saunders was able to come home on the throw, tying it up.
With two outs, freshman Mitch Geers hit a double to right field, and scored on a single by junior first baseman Evan Brockmeier. After a walk by freshman Chris Winpigler, junior third baseman hit a bloop single over first base, driving in Brockmeier and giving Marietta a 5-3 advantage.
The Pioneers tacked on two more in the fourth inning. After Grilliot led off with an infield single, Hopper doubled him home for his third RBI of the game. Hopper then came around to score on a single to right field by Geers, making the score 7-3, giving Marietta the lead for good.
"Aaron is potentially our best player," said MC head coach Brian Brewer. "He has good days and bad days. When he is having good days consistently, he is a special player."
Hopper's good play was not limited to the batter's box. He also made a great defensive play from the center field position.
In the top of the fourth inning, sophomore Ronny Peirish led off with a deep fly ball to the gap in right-center field. On what looked to be an extra base hit for the Presidents, Hopper closed in on the ball and made a nice diving catch for the first out of the inning.
"Off the bat, I saw it," Hopper said of the play. "I just put my head down and ran. I ended up coming up with it. It was a tough play."
On the mound for Marietta was senior Mike Mahaffey (4-1), who went five innings and allowed five earned runs, while striking out five, earning the victory.
Junior Mike Mulvey pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the Pioneers, striking out three. Seniors Logan Lewis and Kyle Lindquist closed out the game, holding the Presidents scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings.
For the Presidents, sophomore Brian O'Neill (2-1) lasted only three innings while picking up the loss. O'Neill gave up five earned runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out one.
"It's a really big win for us," Brewer said. "They are a quality club."
Marietta improved to 18-4 with the win, while Washington & Jefferson fell to 16-4.
The Pioneers are back in action Wednesday, when they travel to Muskingum University for an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader.