MARIETTA, OHIO - Drew Ryback pitched a complete game and Ryan Murphy hit a grand slam to lead seventh-ranked Rowan to an 8-1 win over Penn State Behrend (25-12) in the opening game of the NCAA Division III Regionals at Marietta College. Rowan (26-4) moves on to the winner's bracket and will play the loser of the St. John Fisher vs. North Carolina Wesleyan game on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Ryback (8-1) threw his third complete game of the season, with five strikeouts and no walks to earn the victory. The senior lefthander did not allow a hit or baserunner in the final four innings.
Murphy keyed a five-run third inning for the top-seeded Profs with his second grand slam of the year, and his team-leading ninth home run. He went 3-for-5 on the day with four RBI and two runs scored, while Ryan McIsaac and Ryan Mostrangeli were each 2-for-5 with an RBI. Victor Cruz had a 2-for-4 day at the plate with Jared Marks going 2-for-3.
"It was a great performance by Drew. Anytime you get a complete game with zero walks is great," said head coach Mike Dickson. "We had several two-out hits today but none bigger than Murphy's home run."
Murphy's third-inning blast brought home Trip McCaffrey, Cruz and Alex Kokos to give Rowan a 4-0 lead. Nick Schooley followed with a triple and upped the score to 5-0 when he scored on a single by Mostrangeli.
Penn State Behrend, the sixth seed, got one back in the top of the fifth on three singles, with the run driven in by Jake Deitz.
The Profs added two more in the bottom of the fifth using singles by Murphy and Mostrangeli and taking advantage of two PSU wild pitches, a pair of walks and a hit batter, as they scored to push the lead to 7-1. Rowan added one more in the seventh when Jared Marks singled and eventually scored on a base hit from Ryan McIsaac.
Starter Jacob Lindow took the loss for the Lions as he gave up five of the Profs' runs.
This evening's game against one of Rowan's future opponents features a pair of Top 25 teams. St. John Fisher (31-5) is ranked 16th in the latest poll, while NC Wesleyan (32-8) is 17th.