No. 3 seed Mount Union plays No. 2 seed John Carroll in the first round of the 2013 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament Thursday at 4 pm at Don Schaly Stadium in Marietta.
Mount Union (20-16, 11-7 OAC) is making its third-straight and 14th overall tournament apperance with a 9-24-1 record in tournament play. The Raiders tied Marietta for the OAC Tournament crown in 1970.
The Raiders may be the youngest team in the field as the roster has no seniors but experience as a deep junior class has been part of tournament runs each of the last three seasons.
Mount Union is led by 17-year head coach Paul Hesse. Hesse has a 332-310-3 record and is the winningest baseball coach in school history.
The Raiders hope to get off to a good start to the tournament with starting pitching and that means junior ace Zach Carlino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) leading a pitching staff that has allowed the second fewest runs in the conference and has a 4.54 team earned run average.
Carlino 8-1 on the season with wins against all three of the other teams in the tournament and has the league lead with five complete games. He has a team-best 2.49 ERA with 45 strikeouts.
At the plate, sophomore third baseman Anthony Morino (Strongsville/Strongsville) has had a super season as he is second in the conference with a .427 batting average. He leads the team with 12 doubles and is second on the squad with 28 runs batted in.
Junior first baseman Evan Knott (Canton/GlenOak) has a team-best 30 runs batted in, is hitting .400 with 50 hits.
The duo lead a Raider team that is third in the conference in hitting with a .307 batting average.
John Carroll (25-14, 13-5 OAC) enters the 2013 tournament with an overall record of 25-14. This is the fifth straight season that the Blue Streaks are in the OAC tournament. They are still searching for their first OAC Tournament title, having only made it to the championship game on one occasion, and losing to Marietta in 1998.
The Blue Streaks are led by senior pitcher Patrick O'Brien with a league best earned run average of 1.33 and junior infielder Mitchell Herringshaw is leading the team with a batting average of .423.
The other first round game of the tournament at 1 pm features No. 1 seed and regular season champion Marietta (28-10, 15-3 OAC) against No. 4 seed Otterbein (24-15, 10-8 OAC).
The two-time defeding national champion Pioneers are led by senior catcher Alex Toth, who has an OAC-best batting average of .431, and senior pitcher Mike Mulvey , who has seven wins and a league-best 58 strikeouts. Freshman pitcher Mike Finlan leads the team with a 1.74 earned run average as well.
Otterbein's senior catcher Wes Meadows is hitting .411, and has hit nine home runs, a league-best. Sophomore shortstop Sean Kettering has hit a league-best 46 runs batted in for the Cardinals.
Tickets for the OAC Tournament will go on sale, beginning at 12:30 pm Thursday. OAC Tournament passes are $15. Single-game adult tickets can be purchased for $7, while single-game senior citizen tickets are $5 and single-game non-OAC student tickets are $2. Weekend parking is $5, while single-day parking is $3.
2013 OAC Baseball Tournament
Don Schaly Stadium - Marietta, Ohio
Thursday, May 8
Game 1 - #1 Marietta vs. #4 Otterbein, 1 pm
Game 2 - #2 John Carroll vs. #3 Marietta, 4 pm
Friday, May 9
Game 3 - Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 11 am
Game 4 - Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 2 pm
Game 5 - Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 5 pm
Saturday, May 10
Game 6 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 12 pm (Championship game)
Game 7 - if necessary same teams as Game 6, 3 pm