Marietta Defeats Penn State-Behrend Behind Byers' Gem

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regional-blueTERRE HAUTE, IND. --  Marietta won the final game on the opening day of the Mideast Regional Wednesday night at Art Nehf Field in Terre Haute, Ind., as the Pioneers used a six-run eighth inning and a strong pitching performance from Jason Byers to defeat Penn State-Behrend, 11-1.

Alex Toth led Marietta’s (30-12) offensive attack by going 3-for-5 with three RBI, as the top five hitters in the Pioneer lineup combined to go 11-for-19 with eight RBI.  Evan Brockmeier turned in a 3-for-4 effort and scored three runs for Marietta, while Mitch Geers drove in a pair of runs by going 2-for-3 at the plate.

Starter Jason Byers tossed 8.0 shutout innings for the Pioneers, allowed just five hits and fanned 10 Penn State-Behrend (30-11) hitters around just one walk to up his record to 7-2. 

Matt Bittner drove in the lone run for the Lions and Jordan Weinzierl was the only Penn State-Behrend hitter to tally multiple hits, as he went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

Toth drove in two runs with a single down the right field line to give Marietta a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, before the Pioneers took advantage of a Lion error to double their advantage in their half of the third.

Chris Winpigler reached on a fielding error with one out in the frame, before later scoring on a double by Geers.  Aaron Hopper capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right to score Toth from third.

The Pioneers added another run in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-0 lead, before breaking the game open with a six-run eighth.  Marietta was able to score its six runs on just four hits, as Penn State-Behrend pitchers issued three walks and hit another. 

The Lions broke up the shutout by manufacturing a run in the top of the ninth, as Ryan Kragnes led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI single by Bittner.

With the victory, Marietta advances to play Thomas More tomorrow evening at 7:45 p.m., while Penn State-Behrend will try to stave off elimination, when it faces Wooster in an elimination game at 1:15 p.m.