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Baseball - Mon, May 15, 2017
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KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Matt Burleton continued his dominance and the offense gave him the support he needed as the Marian baseball team opened the NAIA Tournament Opening Round with a 3-2 win over Talladega (Ala.) in Kingsport, Tennessee, Monday afternoon. The Knights are 30-21 with the win and it's the program's first ever win in the national tournament.

Pitchers ruled the early going as both Burleton and Kyle Chavez posted zeroes through the first three innings. Marian struggled to get anything going, leaving one on in the first three innings, while Burleton got out of a jam in the first, stranding two Talladega runners on. In the top of the fourth, Marian struck first as Skyler McCool singled to lead off the inning and Henry Fisher came in to pinch run. Fisher would come around to score on a wild throw and a ground out, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead.

Burleton kept on cruising, getting a double play from his defense to squash any hopes of a threat in the bottom of the fourth, and then worked a perfect fifth inning. However, in the sixth inning, Talladega tied the game with back-to-back one-out hits, which brought home a run to make it 1-1.

After the seventh inning went by without any action, Marian took the lead back in the top of the eighth. John O'Malley and Cody Earl had RBI base hits in the inning and Marian gave Burleton a two-run lead heading to the eight. Talladega was able to get a run off of Burleton and he was lifted with one out in the inning. Brenden Smith finished the eight and Marian carried a one-run lead to the ninth.

The Knights stranded a runner in the top of the inning and Smith worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning to secure the win for Marian. Burleton picked up the win after pitching 7.1 innings and scattering seven hits, while striking out four. Smith earned the save in his 1.2 innings of work. At the plate, the Knights had seven hits with Jordan Jackson's two leading the way.

Marian will face Keiser Monday night at 6 p.m. ET in the winner's bracket.

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