ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall split its Centennial Conference (CC) doubleheader with Muhlenberg on Saturday in a pair of contests that came down to the wire. The Diplomats (14-14, 5-4 CC) put together a four-run ninth inning to take game one 6-3, while the Mules (15-13, 3-6 CC) rallied late in game two to secure a 7-5 victory.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the top of the ninth after a back-and-forth initial eight innings, the Diplomats dropped four runs on the Mules in the frame to take a 6-3 edge, before Alex Vescera earned his fifth save of the year with a one-two-three bottom of the ninth to close out the win.
Will Benenson opened the ninth with a double to left field to ignite the rally, followed by Avery Attinson's bunt single. A one-out walk by Joe Gallitto loaded the base paths, and Rob Anderson came through with the game-winning hit, registering an two-RBI single to left that scored Benenson and Pat Andrews.
Aaron Gillette and Vescera each followed with RBI singles to right center to tack on some insurance runs for F&M.
Benenson notched three hits and scored once, Anderson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Vescera posted two hits and two RBIs, while Gillette also tallied a pair of hits.
On the mound, Brendan DeMond Improved to 5-2 on the year with an eight-inning outing. The senior righthander struck out six and allowed just one earned run while scattering eight hits. Rob Shannon (2-3) suffered the game one loss for the Mules, allowing eight hits and four runs in eight innings.
Game two featured another big ninth-inning rally, but this time it was the Mules who secured the win with a six-run final frame.
After tying up the contest at 1-1 in the fifth off Benenson's RBI double to left , F&M took its first lead in the seventh with a four-run inning. Attinson, Kevin Shields, and Vescera tallied RBIs to highlight the frame for the Diplomats.
The Mules wouldn't go away, however, as they mounted a furious comeback in the ninth, capped off by Brett Rosen's walk-off three-run homer to left field.
Attinson led the way at the plate in game two, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Gillette and Shields each notched two hits in the loss.
The Diplomats return home tomorrow to take on Ursinus in CC action at 1:00 p.m.