LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall put together a late-inning rally to overcome a four-run deficit and defeat Gettysburg 8-7 in a thrilling Centennial Conference (CC) baseball matchup on Tuesday at Caplan Field. The Diplomats move to 11-10, 2-1 CC with the triumph, while the Bullets drop to 14-7, 2-1.
Trailing 7-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Diplomats climbed back into the contest with some clutch hitting from Kevin Shields and Matt Mezansky. With two outs and the bases loaded, Shields pulled F&M within 7-4 with a lined single to left field that scored Aaron Gillette from third. Mezansky followed with the game's key hit, an opposite-field three-RBI double down the right field line that cleared the bases and knotted the score at 7-7 to swing the momentum in F&M's favor.
Reliever Chris Mathewson (2-1), who picked up the victory in 4.1 innings of work, kept the Bullets at bay in the eighth, giving the Diplomats a chance to grab their first lead of the contest.
In the bottom of the eighth, Joe Gallitto opened the frame with a single up the middle, and Pat Andrews earned a free pass on a hit-by-pitch. With Andrews and Sam Gladstone, who pinch ran for Gallitto, on first and second, respectively, Brian Erb laid down an effective sacrifice bunt to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Gillette then delivered what would prove to be the game-winning hit with a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Gladstone to race home.
Alex Vescera tallied his fourth save of the year with a shutout ninth frame to close out the victory for F&M.
Gettysburg jumped out to a 4-0 advantage with a four-run top of the third, before the Diplomats pulled back within a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the third behind a two-RBI single from Avery Attinson and an RBI groundout from Shields. The Bullets added on two more in the fourth and another score in the fifth to take the 7-3 edge into the late innings.
Luke Lawrence (2-2) suffered the defeat on the rubber for the Bullets in 0.2 innings of relief. Starter Eric Hungerford lasted 6.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits.
Mezansky went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Attinson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and scored twice, while Shields notched two RBIs and scored once.
Austin Davis paced Gettysburg at the plate with a 4-for-6 performance and three runs scored, while Pat Cody notched three RBIs on two hits and also touched home once.
The Diplomats travel to Gettysburg on Friday for a 3:30 p.m. contest.