#1 Marietta Upends Lions, 4-3
MARIETTA, Ohio - The Penn State Behrend baseball team fell to No. 1 Marietta 4-3 on Sunday afternoon in non-conference action.
The Lions (25-13-1) jumped out to an early lead with a run in the top of the first. Ryan Kragnes (Bethel Park, PA/Bethel Park) started the inning with a lead-off single. Kragnes advanced to second for his 30th stolen base of the season and suddenly Behrend had a runner in scoring position with one out. Matt Bittner (Lancaster, NY/St. Mary's) stepped to the plate and ripped a double down the left field line to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
Marietta answered with one in their half of the of first to knot the game at 1-all. After Behrend went scoreless in the second, the Pioneers pushed another run across for a 2-1 lead after two.
In the third, both teams plated runs with Marietta still clinging to the one-run lead. The Lions were not backing down from the top Division III team in the country though. Behrend came right back in the fourth with another single run to once again tie the game. Much like Kragnes in the first, James Verona (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional) led off the fourth with a single and a stolen base. This time, Kragnes hit a sacrifice fly for the RBI.
Jay Condit (Cranberry Township, PA/Seneca Valley) and Chad Zurat (Clearfield, PA/Clearfield) teamed up to keep Marietta off the board. The duo combined for five innings of scoreless relief while just giving up one hit.
With the score still tied at 3-all through nine, the game went into extras. The Lions were unable to score in their first at bats of free baseball. However, an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th by Jordan Grilliot was just enough for Marietta to squeak by Behrend.
Bittner led the Lions with three hits on the day. Verona chipped in two singles.
Behrend will be back in action on Thursday morning at La Roche. The Lions will face Mt. Aloysius at 9 a.m. in game one of the 2012 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Championship Tournament.