Pioneers suffer first loss at regional
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.- Manchester remained the only undefeated team in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Friday night, as the Spartans scored early and held off Marietta for a 10-5 victory at Art Nehf Field to advance into Saturday’s championship game.
Marietta College slipped to 31-13 and must face the winner of Friday’s late game between Thomas More and Washington & Jefferson. Game time is set for noon on Saturday.
Corey Marchant and Trevor Kimm combined to drive in seven runs for Manchester (38-5-1), as the duo combined to go 5-for-8 with three doubles and two runs scored. Bryce Murphy was an impressive 4-for-5 with three doubles and three runs scored and recorded his 12th save of the year by tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Dylan Padgett earned the win, improving to 8-1 on the season by allowing five runs, three earned, on nine hits in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Padgett struck out four and issued just one walk, before giving way to Murphy.
Tim McCoy led Marietta at the plate by going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Christian Demko drove in a run by going 2-for-3 with a double. Alex Toth racked up three hits for the Pioneers in his four at-bats, while Jordan Grilliot also recorded multiple hits by going 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Evan Brockmeier took the loss on the mound for Marietta, falling to 5-5 on the season. Brockmeier surrendered seven runs, five earned, on 11 hits in his six innings of work, tallying three strikeouts around two walks.
Manchester jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as the first three Spartans all recorded hits, including Marchant’s run-scoring single to left that plated Bryce Murphy, who led off the game with a double to left center.
The Spartan offense continued to stay hot in the top of the third and expanded the Manchester lead to 6-0. Marchant drove in three more runs with a bases-clearing double to put the Spartans in front, 4-0, before Cody Schell tacked on another run with an RBI single and Jordan Niemann later scored on a double play ball to cap the scoring in the frame.
Marietta got it bats going in the middle innings, by scoring one in the third, two in the fourth and two more in the fifth to cut the Manchester lea to 7-5, after the Spartans scored a run on a Pioneer fielding error in the top of the fifth.
In Marietta’s half of the third, Grilliot put the Pioneers on the board with a single to left to plate Demko, after Demko double down the right field line earlier in the frame.
The Pioneers took advantage of a Manchester error in the fourth to score a pair of runs, as a ground ball that should have ended the inning was misplaced by Kimm and led to one run, before Demko followed with a single to score the second unearned run of the inning.
McCoy singled in two runs in Marietta’s half of the fifth to bring the Pioneers within striking distance, as Marietta continued the momentum in the sixth by getting two batters on with just one out, when Demko walked to start the inning and Grilliot doubled down the line in left to put runners on second and third with just one out.
However, Murphy got out of the inning by getting Geers to pop up and Winpigler to ground out to keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard.
Manchester added insurance runs in the seventh and eighth to make the score 10-5 and Murphy did the rest on the mound by shutting down Marietta the rest of the way, despite a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth, to preserve the victory.