MARIETTA - Fresh off a 7-3 victory over Heidelberg University to claim their 28th Ohio Athletic Conference tournament, the Marietta College Pioneers begin their Mideast Regional tournament run at 8 p.m. Wednesday when the No. 1 Etta Express will face the loser of Franklin and Frostburg State at Don Schaly Stadium.
Marietta College is hosting the Mideast Regional for the second consecutive year, and the Pioneers, who own the nation's best record in Division III, will look to continue a strong run for Marietta sports teams.
"It started out with the men's basketball team and the great season they had. It's kept right on going with our women's crew and the baseball team," said Marietta College Sports Information Director Dan May.
Marietta Times photo
Kirby Becker of Marietta College dives back into first base during last week’s Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament at Don Schaly Stadium.
Along with the top seed Pioneers, there will be six teams competing in the Mideast Regional as announced by NCAA on Monday.
Franklin earned the No. 4 seed for the regional while Frostburg State is the No. 5 seed. Other teams competing include No. 2 Heidelberg, No. 3 Adrian, No. 6 Case Western Reserve and No. 7 Penn State-Altoona.
Each of the competing teams are expected to be in town today to get started preparing for the tournament. There are six out of the seven teams scheduled to practice in town today, but all practices are closed to the public.
No. 4 Franklin vs. No. 5 Frostburg State at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
No. 3 Adrian vs. No. 6 Case Western Reserve at 1 p.m.
No. 2 Heidelberg vs. No. 7 Penn State-Altoona at 4:30 p.m.
No. 1 Marietta vs. the loser of the 9:30 a.m. game at 8 p.m.
Fourth-seeded Franklin and fifth-seeded Frostburg State will open Mideast Regional action at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Adrian, the third seed, will battle sixth-seeded Case Western Reserve at 1 p.m. Second-seeded Heidelberg will take on seventh-seeded Penn State-Altoona at 4:30 p.m. Top-seeded Marietta will then close out day one with its first game of the tournament.
By earning the No. 1 seed for the regional the Pioneers garnered a pair of benefits. If the Pioneers win that contest, they won't play again until Friday and the Etta Express also got a bye, meaning Marietta can pitch its ace against the second pitcher of its opponent.
Competition begins on Thursday with the first pitch for the first game at 9:30 a.m. Teams participating in Thursday's games will be determined by the outcome of Wednesday's contests.
On Friday, games will get started at noon at Don Schaly Stadium and wrap up at 7 p.m.
The championship contests are expected to be played on Saturday, with a noon scheduled start time for the first game and, if necessary, a second contest between the two schools at 4 p.m.
Sunday is an available reschedule day if there is inclement weather.
Preliminary forecasts from the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va. call for a chance of rain for the start of the tournament.
There's a 70 percent chance of rain during the day Wednesday, but it tails off to only a 40 percent chance the Wednesday night and into Thursday and Friday before clearing up for the weekend.
Even if it does rain, the regional will take place.
"We'll be aggressive in our attempt to get the games in on schedule, keeping in mind we do have that extra day. But it comes down to making sure everything is safe and playable," May said.
If Marietta College wins its opening game on Wednesday, the Pioneers would then play at noon on Friday. If the Etta Expresses loses, Marietta College would then play at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Tickets for the Mideast Regional are $35 for an all tournament pass, which includes admission to all games over the four days, as well as $12 for a single day pass. Single game tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens.