Manchester Downs Marietta Again, Ending Pioneers’ Season

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The Marietta College Pioneers saw their season come to an end Saturday, keeping them from their third consecutive NCAA Division III National Championship.

After winning its first contest against the Washington & Jefferson Presidents 6-2, Marietta fell once more to the Manchester Spartans 8-5. The loss to Manchester was the Pioneers’ second of the NCAA Mideast Regional, effectively eliminating them from the tournament.

Game One

Jason Byers tossed a complete game for the Pioneers as they faced elimination for the first time in the tournament. Byers allowed just two runs on nine hits and struck out nine batters.

Marietta benefitted from a three-run first inning powered by Alex Toth, Aaron Hopper and Mitch Geers. Toth led the Pioneers going 2-for-5 on the day.

Three of Marietta’s six runs were unearned as the Presidents suffered from two errors on defense. Marietta actually finished with fewer hits than Washington & Jefferson on the day.

The Presidents’ only chance at a comeback came in the eighth when D.J. Michalski brought in a run on a double with no outs. Washington & Jefferson went down easy immediately after, quelling the comeback attempt.

Washington & Jefferson left two men stranded in the ninth to end the game.

Game Two

The “Etta Express” faced off with its tournament foe, Manchester, next. The Spartans forced Marietta to face elimination once before, defeating the Pioneers 10-5 on Friday, May 17.

Manchester gave the Pioneers a taste of their own medicine by stinging them with a three-run first inning.

Marietta responded well, plating a run in the second and three more in the third. Toth brought in Evan Brockmeier on a double and eventually scored on a throwing error by the catcher later in the inning. The Pioneers led 4-3 heading into the fifth.

It was then when the Spartans exploded for a four-run inning to take the lead they would not surrender. With runners on second and third with two outs, Austin Rieke was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bryce Murphy doubled to empty the bases and put Manchester up 6-4. Brad Murphy singled the following at-bat to bring in Bryce from second.

Marietta only pushed across one run in the sixth and Manchester nullified it with one of its own in the eighth.

After Chris Winpigler walked, the Pioneers went down in order to drop what became their final game of the season 8-5.