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March 10 - FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Three Bethany College pitchers limited Geneva to four hits, including one through the final seven innings, as the Bison came away with a 4-3 victory over the Golden Tornadoes Saturday.

In addition to giving BC a win in their season opener, it also gave Bethany a 1-0 start to PAC play, as Saturday’s tilt counted as a conference match-up with Geneva, who fell to 3-5 and 0-1. The teams will complete their league series Monday with a doubleheader in Fort Pierce.

The Bison struck for the initial run of the ball game with two-out lightning in the second. Junior DH Chuck Ziants (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) and senior RF Anthony Packer (River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley Regional) hit back-to-back two-out singles and then sophomore 3B Juls Leto (McKees Rocks, Pa./OLSH) flared a double inside the right-field line to score Ziants for a 1-0 Green and White lead.

Geneva answered with a three-spot in the bottom of the second. The GTs had three hits off freshman starter Tyler Kurtz (Jerusalem, Ohio/Barnesville), but were also aided by a throwing error on a force play at the plate and Kurtz hitting the next batter with the bases loaded. Following a sacrifice fly, Kurtz escaped the jam with two ground outs and it was a 3-1 Geneva lead after two innings.

The Bison chipped one run off the deficit in their next at-bat when sophomore LF Dylan Wassel (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) stroked a two-out RBI single. Bethany knotted the score at 3-3 in the fifth frame when senior 1B Nate Tieman (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) and junior SS Brad Kubis (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) drew consecutive walks and freshman CF Derek Miller (Rayland, Ohio/Linsly) rolled a two-out RBI single through the left side to bring in Tieman.

After the troublesome second inning, Kurtz settled in and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base in the next three innings. He was helped out in the third when Packer made a sprawling catch in right and doubled up the runner at first. Kurtz did run into a little spot in the sixth with a leadoff walk and after a sacrifice bunt, sophomore Zac Edmiston (California, Pa.) came in from the bullpen. He sandwiched a fly out and ground out around an intentional walk to keep the score even at 3-3 after six innings.

Bethany seemed to grab the momentum from that stop in the seventh. Senior 2B Alex Evans (Washington, Pa.) singled to open the inning and after Tieman walked, senior catcher T.J. Zarewicz (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) was hit by a pitch for the third time in the game to load the bases. Kubis followed with an infield single to plate Evans and give BC a 4-3 advantage.

The Bison pitching insured that lead would stand. Edmiston retired the GTs in order in the seventh and eighth innings and got the first two batters in the ninth before issuing a walk. Kubis, the program’s all-time saves leader, was summoned to the mound to close out the win and needed just three pitches to induce a fly ball to right for the game’s final out.

Bethany’s pitching was the key to the win. In his first collegiate start, Kurtz threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits with two Ks and three walks. Edmiston was even better, not allowing a hit and walking just two while whiffing three batters in 3 1/3 innings to earn the win.

With the bats, Leto’s double was the only extra base hit in BC’s seven and Tieman was the only Bison to reach base more than once with three walks.