ERIE — Senior right-hander Chad Zurat (Clearfield) ended his outstanding four-year career at Penn State Behrend as the winning pitcher in a milestone victory for coach Paul Benim Saturday.
Zurat worked into the sixth inning, departing with the Lions ahead 4-2 and on their way to defeating Bethany (W.Va.) 8-2 at Behrend Field in the first round of the 2014 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III South Region Tournament.
The 6-2, 215-pounder allowed only four hits and one earned run while striking out four Bison, walking three and hitting one.
Relievers Justin Rohrer and Justin Wood combined for four scoreless innings to preserve win No. 500 for Benim, whose record for 22 years at the helm became 501-273-3 Sunday when Behrend bounced Gallaudet 7-3 to claim the ECAC title for the fourth time.
The Lions, Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference runners-up to La Roche in both the regular season and the championship tournament, finished 30-14.
Zurat, converted to starter by Benim after three seasons as a closer, was 8-2 for 11 starts. He pitched 63-2/3 innings with 62 strikeouts and a 2.54 earned run average.
Opponents were limited to 50 hits and 24 runs, 18 earned.
Zurat led the Lions in strikeouts and tied Dante DeSantis (DuBois/DuBois Central Catholic) for complete games with three. He was second behind DeSantis (9-2) in wins, starts and innings worked.
Among AMCC hurlers, Zurat ranked third in wins, fourth in strikeouts, tied for fourth in starts, fifth in ERA and sixth in innings pitched.
Zurat compiled a 16-7 record and 17 saves for his career, pitching 144 innings in 58 appearances with a glittering 2.50 ERA.
He allowed 106 hits and 53 runs, 40 earned, while mowing down 175 batters, walking 17 and plunking 12.
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WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State senior Gwenn Porter (Clearfield) placed fifth in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 5:10.18 at the Penn State Open on the Nittany Lion Track May 9.