In a rematch of the 2006 Division III national championship, the Marietta (Ohio) defeated Wheaton (Mass.) Wednesday afternoon by the same score as six years ago, 7-2, to win the Division III baseball crown once again in Appleton, Wis. This is their second consecutive national title and the sixth all time for the Pioneers. It also marks the first time since 1979 that Division III has seen a repeat champion.
After losing to St. Thomas on Sunday, Marietta won four straight elimination games to regain the title of national champions. Marietta senior righthander Brian Gasser earned the win after yielding just two runs and eight hits while striking out six over eight innings. It was Gasser's 11th victory on the season.
Marietta (48-8) continued its streak of getting on the board early. In the first two innings of each game at the tournament, the Pioneers successfully put runners on base and moved them into scoring position with sacrifice bunts. The strategy worked again against Wheaton, as Marietta jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after two innings. Dan Gusovsky put Wheaton on the board in the fifth inning with an RBI double, but Marietta struck back in the bottom half of the fifth via an Evan Brockmeier RBI single. Marietta would go on to add runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The Lyons put a run on the board in the seventh and had the bases loaded with one out in the eighth but Gasser worked out of it by striking out Apolinar De le Cruz and getting Gusovsky to fly out to end the inning. Logan Lewis finished the job for Marietta by pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Alex Palioca took the loss for Wheaton, his first of the season. The senior allowed five runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. Aaron Hopper led the way for Marietta on offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Gusovsky and Sean Ryan each had two hits for Wheaton, which finishes the season with a 41-11 record and became just the second team in school history to win at least 40 games.
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