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May 15, 2013

MU upends Mount Union, moves on at regionals

TERRE HAUTE, IND. – Manchester University received a strong balance of offense, pitching and defense to lead the way during day one of the 2013 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Wednesday, May 15.

Coach Rick Espeset pointed to one big key in the Black and Gold's 12-3 victory over Ohio Athletic Conference tournament champion Mount Union.

"To have (senior pitcher Justin) Scott pitch so well from the beginning really helped us," he said. "He did a great job throwing strikes and allowing the defense to make plays behind him."

Scott, who increased his season record to 9-1, fired seven innings of scoreless three-hit ball at the Purple Raiders (24-16). He also struck out three and didn't surrender a walk.

"It feels good to have the confidence of the coaching staff in being able to throw the first game of the regional tournament for the second year in a row," he said. "It was a team effort. I got a lot of run support from the offense, and the defense played well."

Senior shortstop Corey Marchant (Fort Wayne, Ind.) turned in a big afternoon for MU, too. He blasted a two-run home run as part of a six-run seventh and drilled a two-run double in the fourth during a two-for-three, four-RBI, two-run scored day. He was also important on the defensive side, starting three double plays that allowed MU to work out of Mount Union offensive threats.

"It felt like the entire team was in rhythm today," he said. "Getting out to a fast start played a big role in that."

Senior outfielder Austin Rieke (Fishers, Ind.) finished with three hits, while senior outfielder Bryce Murphy (Ossian, Ind.), senior left fielder Cody Schell (Granger, Ind.) and freshman catcher Elliot Ford (Rome City, Ind.) each registered two-hit games. Murphy and Schell also added a pair of RBIs each.

MU (36-5-1), the tournament's top seed, moves into a winner's bracket game against fifth-seeded Washington and Jefferson Thursday, May 16. First pitch is 4:30 p.m. at Art Nehf Field on Rose-Hulman's campus.

NOTES: The victory pushed the Spartans' current win streak to 13 straight. It's their second 10-or-more victory skein of the season. … Sophomore second baseman Trevor Kimm (Anderson, Ind.) pushed his hit streak to 10 games with a first inning RBI single. It's the second time this year he's had a double-digit hit string. … The trio of senior first baseman Brad Murphy (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Kimm and sophomore designated hitter Kyle Norris (Indianapolis, Ind.) upped their sparkling on-base streaks. Murphy has reached base in 31 straight games, while Kimm and Norris are at 24 and 21 successive contests reaching base. … Scott's decision marked his ninth consecutive victory. … Rieke's three-hit effort is part of a span of six games where his average has risen 76 points (.315-.391). He on a run of four consecutive outings in which he's had multiple safeties.