STEVENSON, Md. – A monster game by David Iacobucci in the opening contest (8-3) followed by a clutch two-RBI double from Casey Bulik with a two outs in the ninth inning of game two (4-3) secured a pair of victories for Franklin & Marshall's baseball team against No. 16 Johns Hopkins on Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) action.
The Diplomats evened their record to 10-10 on the year, while improving to a 2-1 mark in CC play. The Blue Jays fell to 12-5 and have yet to capture a conference win (0-3).
Meeting for the first time since last season's CC Championship game, F&M got out in front early when Iacobucci plated a pair with a two-RBI single to right center in the top of the first. Johns Hopkins quickly answered with a single down the left field line in the bottom half of the frame to make it a 2-1 game.
The Diplomats' offense picked up right where it left off in the top of the second with three runs off one hit and three errors from the Blue Jays to take a commanding 5-1 advantage. Luke Seib doubled to left field early on in the frame to score Pat Andrews from second.
Johns Hopkins cut into the deficit with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, followed by a bases loaded walk in the third to make it a 5-3 game. F&M starter Sean Cosgriff got out of the bases loaded jam when Johns Hopkins next batter went down looking to end the threat.
The lead remained at two until the top of the seventh when Brett Poniros tripled to right center with a pair of outs on the board, before crossing home plate off a wild pitch. Iacobucci followed with a double to center field with runners on first and third, scoring Will Benenson on the play and making it a 7-3 game.
Casey Bulik tacked on an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single to left field, scoring Andrews from third.
Cosgriff picked up the win to move to 2-2 on the year after going five innings, striking out five and being charged for three earned. His counterpart, Tyler Goldstein (2-2) took the loss after pitching 6.2 innings and being charged with one run on nine hits.
Iacobucci was red hot at the plate, putting together a perfect 4-for-4 line to go along with three RBIs. Rob Anderson, Poniros and Seib all recorded a pair of hits on the day as the Diplomats combined for 13.
Johns Hopkins tallied eight hits, including 2-for-4 efforts from designated hitter John Maxwell and right fielder Mike Denlinger.
F&M went into the ninth inning of the nightcap trailing by a 3-2 score. After the Diplomats first two batters went down in order, Brian Erb provided hope with a two-out double to left field. Andrews pinch hit and reached first on a walk before Bulik provided the theatrics with a double to right center, scoring both runners and handing F&M the 4-3 lead.
Andrew Green received the nod to kick off the ninth and gave up a single to the Blue Jay's leadoff man. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner over to second and provided an out on the board, before Green struck out the final two batters to pick up his third save of the year and end the contest.
Gareth Fancher (2-0) was awarded the win after tossing a scoreless eighth inning, while Johns Hopkins' Jacob Enterlin (2-2) was dealt the loss despite striking out nine and allowing only two earned in 8.2 innings of work. Sam Ackerman started the contest and provided the Diplomats with a strong outing, pitching five innings and surrendering only one earned.
F&M combined for just four hits in the game that included one each from Poniros, Seib, Erb and Bulik.
Game two started off much like the first when the Diplomats put up two runs in the opening frame off an error from the Blue Jay's second baseman that scored Benenson and Poniros. An RBI single in the bottom of the inning from Johns Hopkins made it a 2-1 game.
Strong pitching from both sides kept each offense at bay until the Blue Jays captured its first lead at 3-2, with an RBI single to center field and a sacrifice fly to left, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth.
F&M continues CC competition tomorrow when the Diplomats host McDaniel for a doubleheader at Caplan Field. Game one is set for a 12:30 p.m. start time.