Denison head coach Mike Deegan is used to coaching in lopsided games at Don Schaly Stadium.
He is not, however, used to being on the wrong end of them.
Deegan, former associate head coach for the Pioneers, returned to Marietta for the first time since joining the Big Red and was greeted with an 11-4 loss at the hands of the Etta Express.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta College shortstop Christian Demko (30) fields a grounder against Denison during baseball action at Don Schaly Stadium Monday night. MC pitcher Mike Finlan watches.
"We got beat by a better team tonight," Deegan said.
"It's always good to come back and just to play a good opponent. I coached here for nine years and played here for four so there is a little special feeling in the air. I'm thrilled to be back."
While both teams notched 10 hits at the plate, neither was sharp defensively as Denison committed five errors and Marietta committed three.
MC skipper Brian Brewer saw some areas that need improvement.
"There were some little things," Brewer said. "Our situational hitting wasn't really sharp. We're striking our too much and it's not just the fact that we're striking out but we're striking out because we're not trusting our two strike approach, so we've got to improve there. The situational hitting has got to get better. Runner at third with less than two outs, we've got to score them 100 percent of the time. We've just got to make some better decisions."
While Monday's performance wasn't the greatest for the Big Red, Deegan's squad is enjoying a successful 2013 campaign, currently 22-14 overall and in first place in the NCAC-West division.
"It's going well," Deegan said of his first year at the helm. "We're playing better. I think we've gotten progressively better throughout the season. Our goal is to finish on a high note. We still have a lot of baseball left ahead of us."
"I'm obviously very proud of coach Deegan and his staff and his players," Brewer said. "They're clearly a much better club than they were. A lot of that I think is a credit to Mike and again his staff and his players. He's done a fantastic job. I've talked to him a lot throughout the season. I'm proud to call him a friend and he's one hell of a baseball coach."
Mike Finlan (3-0) started on the hill for the Pios and went 5.2 innings, surrendering three earned runs and striking out three to earn the victory.
Mike Fulton came on and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief followed by Evan Brockmeier who pitched the final two frames of the contest, giving up one earned run.
"The brightest spot today was Fulton," Brewer said. "Mike Fulton coming in, giving us a good appearance out of the bullpen. That's our biggest question mark right now. He threw well and (Anthony) Knittel threw well the other day so the bullpen is coming along a little bit."
As they have seemingly all season long, the Pioneers got on the scoreboard early.
With Brockmeier in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Chris Winpigler produced a clutch RBI-single, a high bouncer over the first baseman's head. Alex Toth moved to second base on the hit and then came around to score on Mitch Geers' single to left field, making it a 2-0 game.
Marietta struck again in the bottom of the third.
After Geers smacked a two-out double to right-center field, Gregorich grounded to third but a throwing error allowed him to get to second and Geers to get to third.
Christian Demko then hit a single the other way to right field, scoring Geers. Gregorich followed Geers home but was thrown out at the plate.
Denison got its first run the next half-inning. With Ryan Mulligan on second base, Tim Duxbury doubled to left field to cut the Marietta lead to 3-1.
That's as close as the game would get as the Etta Express quickly responded with five runs in the bottom half of the fourth.
Jordan Grilliot was hit by a pitch with one-out and then immediately advanced to third on Brockmeier's single to left. Later in the inning, after Alex Toth was intentionally walked to load the bases, Winpigler shot a single up the middle to send Grilliot and Brockmeier across the plate.
Geers was the next batter and drove in two more runs on his third hit of the game, a double to left-center. He would come all the way around to score on the play after a wild throw from the cutoff man went over the third baseman's head and into the Marietta dugout, making the score 8-1.
In the top of the sixth inning, with Kyle Clemmenson on first, Ryan Loenhert skied a home run over the left field fence to cut Denison's deficit to five runs.
Marietta would get those two runs back in the seventh on a two-run single by Brockmeier the plated Gregorich and Tyler Packanik. The Pios would add an additional run an inning later on an RBI-ground out by Gregorich that scored Toth, making it 11-3.
The Big Red got one run back in the top of the ninth but it was not nearly enough as Marietta claimed its fourth consecutive victory.
The Pioneers, who have already wrapped up the OAC regular season title, are now 25-8 overall this season.
"We've just got to stay sharp," Brewer said. "We've got to continue to stay sharp and understand that every pitch, every inning, every game is incredibly important. If we do that we'll put ourselves in a little better position."
MC is back in action Friday when it hosts Wilmington at 4 p.m.
MARIETTA COLLEGE 11,
DENISON UNIVERSITY 4
Denison 000 102 001 - 4 10 5
Marietta College 201 500 21x - 11 10 3
WP: Mike Finlan (3-0) 5.2IP, 3SO, 2BB, Mike Fulton 1.1IP, 1SO, Evan Brockmeier 2IP, 1SO, 1BB
LP: Connor Murphy (3-5) 2SO, 2BB, Philip Seay 1IP, 2SO, 1BB, Ian Barry 2.2IP, 2SO, Ian Walsh 1.1IP, 3SO, 1BB
Denison: Charlie Apfelbach 1-3, 1BB, Nick Marsit 1-4, Georgie Montes 1-1, Kyle Clemmenson 1-4, 1R, Adam Goldstein 1-1, 1RBI, Ryan Loehnert 1-5, 1R, 2RBI, Ryan Mulligan 0-3, 1R, 1BB, Tim Duxbury 2-3, 1RBI, 1BB, Lowell Hall 1-3, Zac Lewinski 1-1, Felipe Garcia 0-1, 1R
Marietta College: Jordan Grilliot 0-3, 1R, 1BB, Evan Brockmeier 2-3, 2R, 2RBI, 1BB, Alex Toth 1-4, 3R, 1BB, Chris Winpigler 2-3, 1R, 3RBI, Mitch Geers 3-4, 2R, 3RBI, 1BB, Bryan Gregorich 1-5, 1R, 1RBI, Christian Demko 1-4, 1RBI, Tyler Packanik 0-4, 1R
Next game: Wilmington at Marietta College at 4 p.m. Friday