FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – The Marian University baseball team concluded the 2013 regular season with a disappointing, 5-3, loss to visiting Ripon College in non-conference action and home finale at Herr-Baker Field, this evening, May 7.
The Sabres suffered just its fourth loss when out-hitting opponents this season, dropping to 16-4 in that regard. Marian out-hit Ripon, 11-5, in the contest and allowed three unearned runs on the night in all. The big blow came in a two-run ninth for Ripon, where they took advantage of two defensive miscues and capitalized on a Taylor Koth two-run single to right center with two outs.
The Red Hawks improved to 21-13 overall and will host the Midwest Conference tournament as the top seed, beginning Friday. The Sabres end the year with a 19-17 mark, the best since 2009 when that squad finished 20-20.
The Sabres cracked the scoreboard from the get-go with a Ty Gellinger RBI single in the first inning, scoring Ryan Seifert, who cracked a one out single to center.
Marian took a 2-0 lead with an unearned run in the second. Following a leadoff walk by Matt Bromley, Mitch Andrus singled to the second baseman and a late, errant throw allowed Bromley to score all the way from second base.
Ripon finally got on the board in the fourth inning. After three sterling innings from Trevor Nicholson, the sophomore lost his groove and command of the strike zone. He exited following a bases loaded hit by pitch and gave way to senior Jeff Thomas.
Thomas got out of the jam with a fielder's choice and a groundout to second, but another run scored to tie the game at 2-2.
The Red Hawks responded in the seventh when an unearned run scored on a double play.
The Marian defense had been flawless entering the ninth inning, but two miscues led to a bases loaded situation for the Red Hawks' best hitter, Koth. The senior took a 2-2 pitch and drove a two-run single to right center, scoring the go-ahead runs to give his team a 5-3 lead heading to the bottom of the ninth.
The Sabres put two on with one out in the final frame, but the rally ended quickly as Ryan Seifert swung and missed on a full count pitch and Chase Eagan was thrown out at third base on a hit-and-run attempt, thus ending the game.
Ripon's Marshall Zahn earned the win to move to 4-1, while Marian's Brandon Winfield (2-3) took the hard luck loss. Ethan Bemowski earned his first save of the season.
The Sabres will return the majority of its pitching staff, which ranked fourth in the NAC with a 3.76 ERA, and position starters, which turned in the fifth-best batting average (.301) in the league.