Baseball's Record Regular Season Ends With Split; Raiders Take on Heidelberg Thursday at OAC Tournament
ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Mount Union rallied for an extra inning 4-3 win in the opener then fell 3-1 in the nightcap to split with Muskingum in the final regular season Ohio Athletic Conference baseball series of the season.
It was a record setting regular season as the Purple Raiders finish with a record 27 wins (27-13) and alone in second place in the OAC at 13-5. Mount Union will take on No. 3 seed Heidelberg in the first round of the OAC Tournament Thursday (May 10) in Marietta.
The other half of the conference tournament is No. 1 in the nation, No. 1 seed and host Marietta against No. 4 seed John Carroll.
Mount Union sophomore C.J. Stotler (Pittsburgh, Pa./Plum) hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to bring the winning run home in the bottom of the eighth for a 4-3 extra inning win in the opener.
The Raiders led for most of the game as sophomore Connor Mathis (Akron/Firestone) had RBI singles in the first and third innings to give Mount Union a 2-1 lead.
The score stayed 2-1 until the top of the seventh when Zach Siemon led off the frame with a single and later scored on an RBI single from Alex Vaccaro to tie the game.
Muskingum (18-21, 9-9 OAC) took its first lead of the game in the eighth when Siemon would have an RBI single.
In the bottom of the eighth, Lee Grosscup (Green/Green) would draw a one-out walk, Mathis would move him to second with a single, a wild pitch put him on third and the Raiders tied the game on a single from sophomore Zach Carlino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic).
Mathis and Carlino would then pull off a double steal of second and third to set up Stotler's heroics.
Mathis' two RBI brings his OAC-leading total to 53.
Carlino won his fifth straight start -- all in conference games -- as he went the distance allowing only six hits over eight innings and striking out three on just 80 pitches.
Muskie starter Todd Spadaro was almost as impressive as he allowed eight hits and three runs over 7.1 innings but took the loss.
Muskingum got another impressive pitching performance in game two as Matt Free pitched a complete game four hitter in a 3-1 Muskie win.
Sophomore Matt Murzynski (Mentor/Lake Catholic) allowed only two earned runs on eight hits over the first five innings but took just his first loss since March 17 to fall to 8-2 on the season.
Sophomore Jimmy Dobran (Poland/Poland Seminary) had two hits for the Raiders.
After the games, the baseball team got a special speech from former Mount Union baseball/football player and alum Dom Capers '72, the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers, who was in town to speak at commencement. His comments are below.