PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – In a rematch of the 2012 National Championship game, Wheaton College (Mass.) got a little revenge with an 8-5 victory over Marietta College Saturday (March 16) afternoon. The No. 3 ranked Lyons improve to 5-3 on the season, while the No. 2 ranked Pioneers finish their southern trip with a 7-3 overall record.
Wheaton junior Alec Palioca (2-1), who took the loss against Marietta in the National Championship game, kept the Pioneer hitters off balance for 7.0 innings to earn the win. Palioca gave up two runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Back to back doubles from designated hitter Sean Ryan and first baseman Apolinar De la Cruz gave Wheaton a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
Marietta tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third. Shortstop Ryan Hanahan walked to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to second by Christian Demko. Senior Jordan Grilliot followed with an RBI single up the middle.
The Lyons jumped back on top with a run in the fourth and then extended the lead to 7-1 with three in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Marietta starting pitcher Stephen Bascom went 5.2 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. Bascom walked three and struck out five.
Mike Finlan allowed two hits in one third of an inning, while Mike Fulton gave up two runs on two hits with a walk in 1.0 inning of work.
Senior Evan Brockmier pitched the final 2.0 innings for the Pioneeras and allowed one run on three hits.
Wheaton added another run in the top of the eight before the Pioneers plated four in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 8-5.
Grilliot walked on four straight pitches to start the inning chasing Palioca from the game. Corey Laliberte took over on the mound for the Lyons and retired the first batter he faced.
Laliberte then had some control problems as he hit Aaron Hopper, walked Zach Bukiewicz and then beaned Mitch Geers to score a run. Chris Winpigler followed with an RBI single scoring Hopper.
Wheaton went to the bullpen again and brought in Ryan Grant. Bryan Gregorich greeted Grant with a two-run single cutting the Wheaton lead to 8-5.
Marietta got a couple of runners on in the ninth but Grant shut the door for his third save of the season. Grant threw 1.2 innings and surrendered one hit with two walks and three strikeouts.
Grilliot finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI and Alex Toth had two hits in three at bats for the Pioneers.
Marietta hosts Montclair State University (N.J.) on Friday (March 22) at 3:00 p.m. Fans can follow the Pioneers all season long at pioneers.marietta.edu. You can also follow the Pioneers on Facebook at facebook.com/MariettaCollege and @MariettaPioneer on Twitter.