GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Junior Dan Gusovsky (Andover, Mass./Andover) had a pair of doubles and an RBI for the No. 9 Wheaton College baseball team, which saw its dreams of capturing the program's first national championship dashed with a 7-2 loss to No. 1 Marietta College in the NCA Division III College World Series championship game Wednesday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium.
Senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) and junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) each tallied two hits for the Lyons, who finish the 2012 season with 41 wins, which is the second-highest total in program history. The Pioneers (47-8), meanwhile, capture their second-straight national championship and sixth overall.
The Pioneers jumped on sophomore starter Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip) early to the tune of four runs and seven hits through the first two innings. Senior Kirby Becker (South Euclid, Ohio) opened the bottom of the first with a single and scored on an RBI single by junior Aaron Hopper (Wheelersburg, Ohio) to put Marietta up 1-0. A pair of RBI singles from junior Bryan Gregorich (Chadron, Ohio) and Becker in the third pushed the lead to 3-0 before Hopper's sac fly to right plated the fourth run of the frame.
Marietta senior starter Brian Gasser (New Philadelphia, Ohio), meanwhile, cruised through the first four innings, allowing nothing more than a pair of two-out single to junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton). The Lyons finally got to him in the fifth freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) drew a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI double down the left field line by Gusovsky to make it 4-1.
The Pioneers struck back in their half of the frame, however, as sophomore Josh Ungerbuehler (Cincinnati, Ohio) drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on a single to right off the bat of junior Evan Brockmeier (Marietta, Ohio) to help Marietta regain a four-run lead at 5-1. Hopper's RBI single in the sixth gave Marietta a five-run lead.
Wheaton chipped away at its deficit in the seventh, scoring once to climb to within four at 6-2. Gusovsky led off with his second double of the afternoon, moved to third on a sac bunt by freshman Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug), and scored on an RBI groundout by senior John Keating (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury). Once again, the Pioneers got the run back in their half, this time on an RBI single by junior Alex Toth (Concord, Ohio).
The Lyons loaded the bases with one down in the eighth as Landers, junior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham), and Haugh each recorded singles. Gasser responded by fanning De la Cruz and getting Gusovsky to line out to center to end the threat and his afternoon. Senior Logan Lewis (Nashport, Ohio) came on to record the final three outs for the Pioneers.
Palioca suffered his first loss of the season, allowing eight hits and five runs with two walks and one strikeout in 4.2 innings of work. Junior Frank Holbrook (Middletown, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey) came on in relief in the fifth and allowed three hits and one run in two innings of work. He walked one and struck out one before senior David Longley (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick) tossed the final 1.1 innings. Gasser, meanwhile, tossed eight innings of eight-hit ball to earn his 11th win of the season. He walked two and struck out six.
Hopper went 2-for-3 with three RBI to spark the Marietta offense while Gregorich plated a pair and Becker, Brockmeier, and Toth each recorded two hits.
Holbrook and Foley were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Marietta also defeated the Lyons in the championship game at the 2006 College World Series by the same 7-2 margin.