LANCASTER, Pa. – The Franklin & Marshall baseball team will travel to Baltimore this weekend for the 2013 Centennial Conference (CC) Baseball Championship hosted by Johns Hopkins. The Diplomats secured the final seed in the double-elimination tournament with a 6-1 victory over Swarthmore in game one of last Saturday's doubleheader.
F&M is looking to capture the third CC Championship in program history this weekend. The Diplomats have advanced to four title games, bringing home back-to-back crowns in 2005 and 2006. The playoff appearance marks the ninth time F&M has qualified for the CC postseason in the 12-year history of the event.
The fourth-seeded Diplomats (20-17, 11-7 CC) will take on top-seeded Johns Hopkins (33-5, 15-3 CC) in Friday's opening round at 3:30 p.m. Friday's other first round contest features second-seeded Gettysburg (28-11, 13-5 CC) opposite third-seeded Haverford (27-9, 11-7 CC).
F&M enters the playoffs with a 2-4 mark against the other three playoff competitors. The Diplomats swept Gettysburg (8-7/6-1), and dropped their matchups against Hopkins (7-1/6-5) and Haverford (4-3/3-1).
A mix of solid hitting and pitching has led the Diplomats to the CC postseason. The F&M lineup features seven players with batting averages over the .300 mark, while the pitching staff enters this weekend with a team earned run average of 3.62 overall and 3.28 in CC play – good for second in the conference.
Aaron Gillette (.385/45 R/29 SB) and Alex Vescera (.376/53 H/39 RBI) have paced the Diplomats at the plate this season. Pat Andrews has provided a steady bat to the order with a .369 average and .506 on-base percentage, while Matt Mezansky put together a breakout freshman campaign, batting .343 with 30 RBIs. Kevin Shields owns a .331 average with 26 RBIs, 27 runs scored and a team-high 13 doubles, while Avery Attinson is batting .317 with 23 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
In CC play, Vescera led the conference with a .432 batting average and ranked second in hits (32) and RBIs (22). Aaron Gillette also cracked the top-10 in multiple categories, posting league-highs of 21 runs scored and 10 stolen bases while also ranking fifth in on-base percentage (.489), sixth in hits (29) and ninth in batting average (.397). Pat Andrews ranked second in on-base percentage (.500), while Will Benenson finished the regular season third in doubles (7).
Brendan DeMond leads the pitching staff with a 7-2 record and 2.41 ERA, while starters Sean Cosgriff (2.98 ERA), Alex Guerra (3.38 ERA), and Paul Giulio (4.23 ERA) also boast solid numbers. Chris Mathewson (2.96 ERA) and Andrew Green (3.44 ERA) have been the linchpins of the bullpen, while Vescera has recorded six saves with a 1.80 ERA in 11 appearances.
CC Tournament Schedule
Friday, May 3
Game 1: No. 1 Johns Hopkins vs. No. 4 Franklin & Marshall – 3:30 p.m. at JHU
Game 2: No. 2 Gettysburg vs. No. 3 Haverford – 3:00 p.m. at GC
Saturday, May 4
Game 3: Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 – 9:00 a.m. at JHU
Game 4: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 – 12:30 p.m. at JHU
Game 5: Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 – 30 min. following Game 4 at JHU
Sunday, May 5
Game 6: Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 – 12:00 p.m. at JHU
Game 7 (if necessary)