College baseball: Etta Express derailed at regional

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. Marietta College’s reign at the top of the NCAA Division III baseball world came to an end Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the 2013 Mideast Regional.

Top-seeded Manchester University defeated the Pioneers 8-5, advancing to its second Division III World Series.

Manchester (39-5-1) has now won 16 straight games and 26 of its last 28. The Spartans’ only other trip to the D-III World Series came in 2004.

Marietta, winners of the last two national championships, finished the season with a record of 32-14.

Manchester scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. All-tournament team selection Trevor Kimm laced a two-run single down the left-field line to open the scoring. Cody Schell followed with a run-scoring single to left, making it 3-0.

The Pioneers answered with a run in the top of the second and then took the lead, 4-3, with three runs in the third.

Marietta got on the board in the second when Tim McCoy and Mitch Geers executed a first and third double steal. McCoy stole second and Geers scored on the throw.

Evan Brockmeier led off the third with an infield single in the hole at short. Chris Winpigler continued his hot hitting with a double to left and Alex Toth scored Brockmeier with a double.

Following a strikeout, Aaron Hopper singled through the left side of the infield, plating Winpigler and moving Toth to third. Hopper and Toth then pulled off another first and third double steal, giving the lead to Marietta.

Brockmeier earned all-tournament honors after going 2-for-5 in the game. Winpigler finished 3-for-4 with a double. Toth, Jordan Grilliot and freshman pitcher Jason Byers were also named to the all-tournament team.

The Spartans put four runs on the board in the home half of the fifth inning, chasing Marietta starting pitcher Mike Finlan from the game. Finlan (4-2) worked 4 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits. He walked four.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Bryce Murphy delivered a two-out, three-run double into the gap in left-center in the fifth-inning rally. Brad Murphy knocked in Bryce with a single to center for a 7-4 lead.

Grilliot cut the lead to two, 7-5, with an RBI single up the middle in the sixth scoring Bryan Gregorich. Gregorich had reached on a single through the left side.

Bryce Murphy moved to the mound in the seventh and tossed three shutout innings for his 13th save of the season.

For Manchester, Temujin Sery (3-0) started and threw six innings to get the win. Sery allowed five runs on 11 hits. He walked one and struck out five.

The Spartans added an insurance run in the eight for an 8-5 lead.

Murphy then retired the Pioneers in order in the ninth to secure the regional championship.

Manchester is scheduld to open play in the NCAA Division III World Series on Friday against Wisconsin-Stevens Point.