Hornets edge Marietta in opening game of NCAA regional

Shenandoah University pitcher Colin Morse threw a complete game in the Hornets' 3-2 win over Marietta College in the opening game of the NCAA Division III Adrian (Michigan) Regional on Thursday morning. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah University

Shenandoah University’s baseball team opened the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 3-2 win over Marietta (Ohio) College in the first game of the Adrian (Michigan) Regional on Thursday morning.

The victory moves the Hornets, ranked 16th in the latest D3baseball.com/NCBWA poll, into a 4:30 p.m. game Friday against the winner of No. 1 Wooster and No. 8 Wabash.

Senior right-hander Colin Morse tossed a complete game seven-hitter for SU while striking out seven, and the Hornets struck for three runs in the first two innings against Marietta starter David Stover.

Morse, who threw 131 pitches in his first complete game of the season, faced the minimum through the first 4 2/3 innings. He walked one and hit a batter.

Luke Nussman’s RBI double in the first inning gave Shenandoah a 1-0 lead, and the Hornets added two more runs in the second after loading the bases to start the inning. Christian Rice’s RBI single drove in Nick Goode – who led off the frame with a double – and gave SU a two-run lead, and Robbie Marcelle, who had reached on an infield single, came in to score on a double play.

Marietta scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to cut Shenandoah’s lead to 3-2, and the Pioneers put the tying run in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings only to see Morse escape trouble both times. Morse induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the eighth and got a groundout and pop out in the ninth to close out the win.

“What a baseball game,” Hornets head coach Kevin Anderson is quoted as saying in a news release from the school. “Two good teams that went after each other.

“Colin (Morse) was the story of the game. What a performance – he threw basically two pitches (fastball and slider) and only walked one batter.

“This is huge to get a win in the opening game. If you lose the opening game and look at the bracket, you have to win five or six games to win the tournament. I am not sure that any team has that kind of pitching depth because of the 25-man roster. We are going to face a good team tomorrow and hopefully we can continue to play good baseball.”

Thursday’s win marked the ninth time in nine tries that Shenandoah has won its opening game in the regional round.