A spectacular season for the Marietta College Pioneers came to a disappointing end Sunday afternoon in the Division III regional tournament at Don and Sue Schaly Stadium at Pioneer Park.
The Pioneers opened the day by rallying from three runs down late to down Penn State Behrend 7-3 to advance to the evenings championship game against top-seeded Rowan.
Marietta also managed a late rally against the Profs but were unable to finish in the second game of the day as Rowan came up with a 9-8 win in 10 innings to advance to DIII College World Series.
The Pioneers found themselves trailing 3-0 heading to the last of the sixth inning while also failing to score a single run in 16 consecutive innings.
That all changed in the sixth as Marietta scored three times to tie the score.
A single by Trent Castle plated the first run and later in the inning an RBI-double by Drew Wilkinson tied the score at 3-3.
Marietta took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Trent Valentine clubbed his first collegiate home run, a long two-run shot inside the foul pole in right field for a 5-3 Marietta lead.
Marietta High School grad Isaac Danford kept the Pioneers in the game with five innings of one-run relief before Sam Mathews took over on the hill in the sixth.
The Pios got some insurance in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run double by Damian Yenzi and Mathews retired the final seven hitters he faced to secure the win and send MC up against Rowan who had defeated them 2-0 on Saturday.
Things started well for Marietta as Logan Vietmeier slammed a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to give them the early lead.
The Profs answered with a four-spot in the top of the second but Marietta scored three times in their half of the second to re-take a 5-3 lead.
Turner Hill delivered the big blow with a two-out, two run single and Yenzi’s two-bagger put them back in front by a run.
Rowan jumped back in front in the sixth on RBI hits by Jared Marks and Ryan McIsaac and then extended that lead in the next inning on a two-run homer off the bat of Eric DiDomenico.
Marietta came up empty in the last of the seventh but rallied to tie the score with three in the bottom of the eighth.
Hill got things started with a double, his fourth hit of the game and Yenzi followed by drawing a base on balls.
Hill came into score on a fielders choice and Valentine delivered the second run of the inning with an RBI-double down the right field line.
Trent Castle brought in the tying run the hard way as he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at 8-8.
Mathews entered the game on the mound for Marietta and managed to hold the Profs scoreless in the top of the ninth, but the Pioneers were unable to dent the plate either in their half of the ninth against reliable Rowan closer Zach Listro.
The Profs managed to grind out a run against Mathews in the top of the 10th without getting a ball out of the infield as Marks led off with an infield single, moved to second on the combination of a sacrifice bunt and the lone Pioneer fielding error of the day before scoring the go-ahead run on a ground out by third baseman Victor Cruz.
The Pioneers were unable to get anything going at all against Listro in the last of the 10th and Rowan held on for the hard fought win.
While Rowan (29-4) advances to the College World Series for the first time since 2006, the Pioneers spectacular season comes to an end with a 38-6 mark.
“Obviously disappointed but super proud of this group and everything they have accomplished,” said Marietta head coach Brian Brewer. “They have gotten us back to where we need to be and that is competing on a national stage.”
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox