MARIETTA, Ohio - For the second straight night it was costly errors that helped lead the Adrian College baseball to a loss at the 2012 Mideast Regional. The miscues coupled with timely eighth inning hitting by Marietta led to the Bulldogs' season coming to an end with a 11-4 loss at Don Schaly Stadium, on the campus of Marietta College.
The Bulldogs got the chance to send shockwaves throughout NCAA Division III baseball if they could have knocked off the defending national champions. Marietta and Adrian squared off in an elimination game on Friday night, but the home team got a few breaks by Adrian's defense and pounded out 13 hits against three Adrian pitchers to stay alive until Saturday.
Adrian scored twice in the top of the first to silence the sellout crowd. Sam Fischer was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning against Kyle Lindquist, making his first start since 2010 for Marietta. Lindquist came into the game with six saves and threw a total of 27 innings all season long. Garrett Green had a one-out single to center as Fischer advanced to second. Kyle Strawn reached on a fielder's choice which probably should have been a double play. Kirby Becker took the throw at second base and threw the ball past Evan Brockmeier at first base allowing Fischer to score the game's first run. Mitch Stefanski followed with a double down the right field line to score Strawn from second.
Marietta took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third thanks to three Adrian errors. Bryan Gregorich walked to leadoff the inning and Becker moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Josh Ungerbuehler then singled up the middle allowing Gregorich to move to third. Tim Saunders then hit what appeared to be a tailor-made double play towards Green at second base. Green let the ball get under his glove and runners moved up a base on a throwing error by Andrew DeLuca. Aaron Hopper then hit a sacrifice fly to right allowing Ungerbuehler to score. Saunders moved to third on the fly ball and advanced home when DeLuca's throw eluded Adrian's infielders into the Marietta dugout. Saunders was given home due to the ball going out of play and Marietta had a one-run lead.
The Pioneers added two more runs in the fifth as Becker walked to leadoff the inning. Saunders grounded the ball to second again and this time Green had the ball hit his glove and he simply could not get a handle as both runners were safe at first and second with one out. Hopper then doubled to left allowing Becker to score and moving Saunders to third. Saunders scored on a wild pitch and Hopper advanced to third to make it 5-2. Mitch Geers then flied out to center and Hopper was cut down at the plate with a strong throw from Fischer in center.
Lucas Willitzer replaced starter Brent Greenwood to start the sixth. Greenwood was not helped out by his defense and gave up just two earned runs with two walks and a strikeout. Adrian cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh as Stefanski led off with a triple to right center. Anthony Sergi hit a RBI groundout to shortstop to score Stefanski.
Willitzer ran into a buzzsaw in the eighth as Marietta scored six times off Adrian's closer and sent his season ERA from 0.55 to 3.38 with six earned runs and seven hits in the inning. Eric Sims came on to record the final two outs of the eighth. Marietta's 11-3 lead meant little comeback hopes would be coming in the ninth for Adrian. Mitch Sroka lifted a sacrifice fly to right scoring Ben Yax who singled down the right field line to start the inning in place of Green in the order. Sroka hit for Stefanski and Strawn also had a base hit in his final Adrian at-bat.
Lindquist (1-0) went eight strong innings and gave up six hits and three earned runs. He threw over 130 pitches and struck out eight. Luke Langdon worked the ninth after Lindquist allowed the first two runners to reach base. He struck out two including senior Ryan Sigler looking to end the season for Adrian.
Adrian finished 37-10 overall and finished 2-2 good for fourth in the regional. Stefanski was the only Bulldog with a multi-hit game finishing 2-for-3.